Communicating with dying patients: a time to listen more than talk

University of Worcester, UK.
British journal of community nursing 08/2012; 17(8):369. DOI: 10.12968/bjcn.2012.17.8.369
Source: PubMed


Effective communication is central to showing empathy at the end of someone's life, yet it is also perhaps the most difficult skill to get right. As a result, communication is one of the aspects of care that patients most often complain about (Healthcare Commission, 2007). It is widely accepted that effective communication is resource and time-intensive, although the benefits tend to outweigh these perceived drawbacks. More importantly, poor communication can have an impact on patients' decision-making in preparation for death.

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    ABSTRACT: The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked India's end-of-life care last out of 40 countries. The lack of orientation towards palliative care, poor communication skills, a disease-focused, curative approach and the unending battle against death-all lead to unrealistic hope in patients and their families. Inappropriate referrals at the end of life are common and result in a lot of avoidable suffering for both the patients and their families. Propagation of clear guidelines to limit inappropriate therapeutic interventions and referrals in patients with limited prognosis is the need of the hour. Awareness, sensitization, education and training in palliative care are urgently required to change attitudes. This would go a long way in mitigating the misery for both the dying and their carers.
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