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Delivering bad news: patient's perspective and opinions

Authors Sobczak K, Leoniuk K, Janaszczyk A

Received 10 August 2018

Accepted for publication 12 October 2018

Published 12 November 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 2397—2404

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S183106

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Krzysztof Sobczak, Katarzyna Leoniuk, Agata Janaszczyk

Department of Social Medicine and Social Pathology, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland

Purpose: The aim of our research was to gain knowledge about patients’ opinions, experiences, and preferences with regard to the way the news is being delivered to them.
Materials and methods: Detailed research was carried out on a group of 314 patients using the CAWI (Computer-Assisted Web Interview) technique. Adult responders who had earlier received bad news were questioned about their opinion about the way the doctor acted while delivering bad news and how he did it.
Results: Patients, who define the following aspects of their visit as negative/lacking: 1) doctor’s behavior in the moment of delivering bad news, 2) amount of time devoted to the visit, 3) lack of doctor’s attention, 4) usage of medical terminology, 5) doctor’s honesty, 6) emotional and cognitive support from the doctor, more often tend to change the doctor in charge of their therapy or decide to cease the medical treatment.
Conclusion: Doctors’ behavior and the way they deliver news to patients are key elements that strongly influence patients’ future therapy. It makes an impact on patient’s decision whether to continue or cease the treatment. In the first case, it also leads the patient to choose to continue the treatment under the guidance of the same specialist or to find another one. The data that we acquired and that we will discuss below will form the basis for editing a communication protocol concerning delivering bad news. It is necessary to create such a protocol in order to improve the quality of communication with patients, especially as regards delivering bad news to them.

Keywords: diagnosis, truth disclosure, doctor–patient relationship

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