Tips for bad news bearers
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Tips for Bad News Bearers. A Critical Clinical Skill Dr. Jeff Sisler Department of Family Medicine CancerCare Manitoba Issues and Updates 2007. Learning Objectives. After this session, you will: Recognize the challenge of sharing bad news effectively

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Tips for bad news bearers

Tips for Bad News Bearers

A Critical Clinical Skill

Dr. Jeff Sisler

Department of Family Medicine

CancerCare Manitoba

Issues and Updates 2007


Learning objectives

Learning Objectives

After this session, you will:

  • Recognize the challenge of sharing bad news effectively

  • Be able to describe an effective six step process for sharing bad news--SPIKES

  • Be committed to improving your skills in breaking bad news to patients


What is bad news

What is Bad News?

Any news that seriously and negatively alters the patient’s view of his or her future.

Buckman


The goal

The Goal

  • Help the patient and family understand the condition

  • Support the patient and family

  • Minimize the risk of overwhelming distress or prolonged denial


Why is it a critical skill

Why is it a critical skill?

The Patient’s Perspective

  • Patients often have vivid memories of receiving bad news

  • Negative experiences can have lasting effects on anxiety and depression

  • Can facilitate adaptation to illness and deepen the patient-doctor relationship


Why is it a critical skill1

Why is it a critical skill?

The Physician’s Perspective

High degree of difficulty + Physician anxiety

=

High risk of performing poorly


What do patients want

What do patients want?

For themselves…

  • more time to talk

  • and show feelings

    From the doctor…

  • more information, caring,

    hopefulness, confidence

  • a familiar face

    Strauss 1995


What do you do

What do you do?

  • What have you have found helpful in making “bad news” visits go as well as possible?


Tips for bad news bearers

S etting up the interview

P erception of the patient re their illness

I nvitation from patient to share info

K nowledge and Information conveyed

E motions responded to empathically

S ummary and Strategy for follow-up


1 setting up the interview

1. Setting up the interview

  • Anticipate the possibility of bad news, and arrange a follow-up visit after significant scans, biopsies etc.

  • Avoid telephone

  • Private setting, sitting down

  • Turn off beeper, no interruptions

  • Ensure adequate time


1 setting up the interview1

1. Setting up the interview

  • Lab reports, X-rays present

  • Support person present , if desired

  • Review the condition, basic prognosis and treatments before the visit

  • HOPEFUL TONE


Tips for bad news bearers

The one-stop cancer website for Manitoba Family Physicians

www.cancercare.mb.ca

“Info for Doctors”


Assessing the patient s 2 perception

Assessing the patient’s 2. Perception

  • ASK then TELL

  • Important if the patient is not well known to you OR if visits to consultants have occurred

  • “Assess the Gap” between what the patient knows and the diagnosis

  • “What have you already been told about might be going on?

  • “What is your understanding of why the CT scan was ordered?”


Obtaining the patient s 3 invitation

Obtaining the patient’s3. Invitation

  • Preferably before the visit

  • Easier if patient is well- known

  • Listen to patient cues

  • “Are you the sort of person who likes to know all the details of your condition?

  • “Would you like me to discuss the results of the CT scan with you?”


Giving 4 knowledge and information

Giving 4. Knowledge and Information

  • Align yourself with the patient’s understanding and vocabulary

  • Start with a warning shot: “I’m afraid that the scan shows that the problem is fairly serious.”

  • Give diagnosis simply, avoid euphemisms or excessive bluntness

  • Provide information in small chunks

  • Check frequently for understanding


Giving 4 knowledge and information1

Giving 4. Knowledge and Information

  • Check for knowledge or experience with condition

  • Allow for pauses, use repetition

  • Will usually want basic but clear information re treatment plan and prognosis

    BUT

  • Tune into patient readiness to hear more, and know when to stop


Balancing truth and hope the skillful use of indirect language s healing et al 2006

Balancing Truth and Hope: The Skillful Use of Indirect Language S Healing et al 2006

  • “It looks like….” not “You have….”

  • “there are tumours in the liver…” not “you have tumours in your liver…”

  • Emphasize on maintaining the relationship as well as communicating the news


Respond to 5 emotions empathically

Respond to 5. Emotions empathically

  • Observe for and allow emotional reactions

  • Kleenex handy, use of touch

    N aming the feeling “I know this is upsetting”

    U nderstanding “It would be for anyone”

    R especting “You’re asking all the right questions”

    S upporting “I’ll do everything I can to help you through this.”


6 summary and strategy for follow up

6. Summary and Strategy for follow-up

  • Summarize discussion

  • Clear follow-up plan re: referral, tests, next contact (in <48 hrs)

  • Provide written summary or brochures

  • Refer to community resources

  • Invite support person for next visit if not present


6 summary and strategy for follow up1

6. Summary and Strategy for follow-up

  • End on note of hope and partnership

  • AFTER: document well

    assess your own reaction


Six steps for breaking bad news

Six Steps for Breaking Bad News

S etting up the interview

P erception of the patient re their illness

I nvitation from patient to share info

K nowledge and Information conveyed

E motions responded to empathically

S ummary and Strategy for follow-up


Discrepancies in ratings

Discrepancies in Ratings

Patients rated the following much higher than doctor and nurses:

  • receiving bad news in a quiet, private place

  • arranging a follow-up visit soon to review with patient and family

  • inform patient about support services

    Girgis, Behavioural Medicine 1999


Follow up

Follow-up

  • Please take a handout outlining the SPIKES steps in sharing bad news

  • Try out one or two of the suggestions next time you have bad news to share


Tips for bad news bearers

“The task of breaking bad news is a testing ground for the entire range of our professional skills and abilities. If we do it badly, the patients or family members may never forgive us; if we do it well, they will never forget us.”

Robert Buckman


Thank you

Thank you!


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