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Delivering difficult news: views of mental health staff in inpatient settings


Cleary, M and Hunt, GE and Walter, G, Delivering difficult news: views of mental health staff in inpatient settings, Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 48, (6) pp. 32-39. ISSN 0279-3695 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.3928/02793695-20100504-02


In this study, we surveyed clinical staff to ascertain their views regarding the delivery of difficult news (DDN), such as the need for lifelong medication with possible side effects, in inpatient mental health settings. Nearly all staff agreed patients had a right to information about their diagnosis, two thirds thought the doctor was the best person to inform patients of their diagnosis, and approximately half believed full diagnosis and treatment disclosure may have negative consequences. Providing hope when delivering difficult news was endorsed by almost all staff, and most took special precautions (e.g., greater monitoring) after DDN. Two thirds had never received specific training for DDN, yet most considered themselves competent in DDN. In DDN, staff usually or always considered patients’ level of insight/awareness, likely distress, diagnosis, and whether they would understand the consequences of the diagnosis.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:delivering difficult news, mental health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:108373
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-04-19
Last Modified:2016-11-15

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