Doctors' strategies when breaking bad news to terminally ill cancer patients
2003 (English)In: Journal of Palliative Medicine, ISSN 1096-6218, Vol. 6, no 4, 565-574 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Breaking bad news to patients with a terminal disease is a difficult task for physicians. The aim of this study was to study how doctors perceive their strategies when giving information to cancer patients about discontinuing active tumour treatment. Thirty doctors with different demographic characteristics working with patients with cancer in Sweden participated. Semistructured interviews were conducted and analyzed using a qualitative phenomenographic method. The goal when giving this information was described as making the patient understands while being as considerate as possible. However, the strategies for reaching this goal were different: (1) explaining and convincing information, (i.e., giving a long explanation about why treatment has to be discontinued); (2) softening the impact of the information, with the doctor recommending discontinuation of treatment; (3) and preparing either the patient or the physician himself/herself for the information; (4) adapting or tailoring the information to the patient, with the doctor actively seeking knowledge about the patient in order to be able to adapt the information to the patient's level, or with the doctor briefly describing the situation and then remaining silent, allowing room for the patient's reactions and questions (i.e., letting the patient take an active part). When giving information, the doctors' goal was to make patients understand, but the strategies differed depending on the context.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 6, no 4, 565-574 p.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13727DOI: 10.1089/109662103768253678OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13727DiVA: diva2:21213