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Life to be LivedChallenges and choices for patients and carers in life-threatening illnesses$
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Catherine Proot and Michael Yorke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199685011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685011.001.0001

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Talking with patients

Talking with patients

(p.96) Chapter 11 Talking with patients
Life to be Lived

Catherine Proot

Michael Yorke

Oxford University Press

Talking with patients stands at the heart of the patient-carer relationship. Important principles are proposed. Communication involves information, but also feelings and perceptions. This notion is developed by reference to the need of patients to be addressed as people and to feel heard. They require realistic reassurance and the confidence that they have been told the truth. In breaking bad news, timing is crucial. The news has to be conveyed in a way and at a speed and time that the patient can manage. A family meeting may be called. Openness and honesty, and a measure of encouragement are called for. The watchwords are sensitivity, tact, courage, gentleness, honesty, patience, and ‘to do the loving thing’. Two long and powerful stories about working with a family with lively children and a young couple with two young children demonstrate these principles. Readers may be deeply involved as the stories unfold and secrets in the family are worked with.

Keywords:   patient/carer communication, breaking bad news, family meeting, secrets in the family, stories, making people feel heard, patient, centred care

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