Terminally Patient Communication

1704 Words7 Pages
Meruyert Madikenova
Communication in caring for terminally ill patients
Communication plays an important role in establishment of good relationships between the healthcare provider and patients. Good communication affects patient satisfaction, patient compliance and patient health outcomes. It is the one of the essential attributes of healthcare providers, and mastering in effective communication is necessary skill to provide quality patient care. (McCorry and Mason, 2011) The most asked question for terminally ill patients is “How long I will live?”, and answer gives them time to make decisions about end-of-life care. Therefore, healthcare providers should be able to respond properly to help patients address their concerns and promote shared
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The main finding was that patients preferred to know less detailed information compared to carers. It was enough for patients to know will they experience pain, retain their dignity and have support of health professionals. Carers wanted to know more detailed information including future symptoms, potential complications around the time of death and what needs to be done immediately after death. (Clayton et al., 2005(1)) Health professionals need to clarify on patient’s/carer’s understanding and how much details they want to know. For many patients discussions about end-of-life issues may serve as a relief and comfort, therefore, it is important for health professionals to have strategies to deliver and discuss information. For example, some health professionals describe unconscious period of the terminal phase as a “sleep-like state”. This word can scare some patients, or serve as a good analog to calm the patients. (Clayton et al., 2005(1)) Therefore, it is important to phrase the information differently focusing on individual patient’s…show more content…
Health professionals need to know how to effectively inform patients to help them to make those decisions. Some doctors prefer not to give a time frame and tell that it is impossible to predict how much an individual will live, giving just general indication. (Clayton et al., 2005(3)) Most doctors give time frame upon the patient request after the discussion of limitations. Regarding patients, some point that it is important to know time frame and become angry when they get uncertain answers. (Clayton et al., 2005(3)) However, there are times when doctors cannot give answers because they don’t sure about life expectancy, which can be interpreted as an avoidance of truth. In the process of explanation doctors make predictions of life expectancy before giving them particular time frame. They explain what changes do the patients have and based on these they predict future expectations. Also physicians tell patients that there are other factors which may affect lifespan. (Clayton et al., 2005(3)) This gives strength and hope to patients to make their own predictions and understand some limitations. Healthcare professionals should avoid giving strict time frames because patient may focus on definite time and believe on that they had exact given period of time. However, in the case of very short time left, it is preferred to give more precise life expectancy information.

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