How to break bad news to a patient

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What is the best way to reveal sad or shocking news to the patient? Here is a step-by-step approach:

1. Make sure the patient is in a quiet, private and comfortable environment.

2. Ask the patient how much he or she knows, or what they think they might have. This will give an idea of what their expectations are.

3. Ask the patient how much he or she wants to know.

4. Give them a warning shot, "unfortunately, the situation is more serious than I previously thought."

5. Break the news if they want you to, "the results show you have advanced brain cancer."

6. Give the prognosis, and make sure you give all options to make their remaining life as comfortable as possible.

7. Try to explain everything as clearly as possible.

Additional Reading:

Basic Psychiatry

1. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM IV)
2. Organic Disorders
3. Major Depressive Disorder vs Dysthymic Disorder
4. What is Classical Conditioning?
5. What is Observational Conditioning?
6. What is Operant Conditioning?
7. How to break bad news to a patient
8. What is Dementia?
9. What is Normal Aging?
10. Factors Promoting Poor Prognosis in Schizophrenia
11. Factors Promoting Good Prognosis in Schizophrenia
12. What are Temper Tantrums?

Related Topics

1. Mechanics of Defense Mechanisms
2. Types of Antipsychotics

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