What is the best way to give bad news to a patient?
Sometimes a patient, a couple, has trouble conceiving despite everything that they do or that we can do. Sometimes the last step in conception, the one where the body has to accept the embryo and allow it to implant, just does not occur. Sometimes the patient has age-related infertility, meaning that she has stopped ovulating and there are no eggs to be had. Sometimes, altough rarely, it is simply a mystery as to why a couple cannot have the child of their dreams. At times like these, the news is very hard to take for the couple. It is equally hard for us to give them the news. A recent blog post of mine examines this issue and the difficulty that the physician and staff have when approaching a patient with the "bad news". http://womenshealthandfertility.blogspot.com/2012/02/hope-and-encouragement-during-ivf-is-it.html
Honestly with respect
Providing options first, then the news
It depends on how you deliver it. Patients have different ways of dealing with these bad news, either way they'll need their family's support. It is also important in these situations that the health team members support the patient and the family as well.
Be honest, don't make it look worse or better than it is.
Empathetically, honestly, with care and respect.
Not to give to the patient but only to the relatives
Directly to the patient and their family (together if possible). Never hide the truth from the patient as the mind can heal as can faith and positive energy.
Be honest, caring and have another love one present to break the bad news.
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