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Delivering difficult news in psychiatric settings


Cleary, M and Hunt, GE and Horsfall, J, Delivering difficult news in psychiatric settings, Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 17, (5) pp. 315-21. ISSN 1067-3229 (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College

DOI: doi:10.3109/10673220903271780


Communication research and investigations into the delivery of bad news are uncommon in psychiatry versus other medical specialties. The question of delivering "bad" diagnostic news in psychiatry has been focused on dementia rather than actual psychiatric disorders and their sequelae. Common problems are that psychiatrists avoid dealing with patients' emotional reactions to bad news and that they avoid providing a clear diagnosis for fear that patients or carers will be distressed. This article aims to provide an overview of key elements of the "breaking bad news" literature, teasing out factors that are relevant to psychiatric practice. Topics explored include: definitions; clinical considerations for delivering difficult news within medical and psychiatric settings; protocols and guidelines; evidence about patient information needs and communication preferences; research into actual delivery of such news; and areas for future education and research.

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:108394
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-04-19
Last Modified:2016-11-15

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