Published on October 8, 2007
Tips for Bad News Bearers: Tips for Bad News Bearers A Critical Clinical Skill Dr. Jeff Sisler Department of Family Medicine CancerCare Manitoba Issues and Updates 2007 Learning Objectives: Learning Objectives After this session, you will: Recognize the challenge of sharing bad news effectively Be able to describe an effective six step process for sharing bad news--SPIKES Be committed to improving your skills in breaking bad news to patients What is Bad News?: What is Bad News? Any news that seriously and negatively alters the patient’s view of his or her future. Buckman The Goal: The Goal Help the patient and family understand the condition Support the patient and family Minimize the risk of overwhelming distress or prolonged denial Why is it a critical skill?: Why is it a critical skill? The Patient’s Perspective Patients often have vivid memories of receiving bad news Negative experiences can have lasting effects on anxiety and depression Can facilitate adaptation to illness and deepen the patient-doctor relationship Why is it a critical skill?: Why is it a critical skill? The Physician’s Perspective High degree of difficulty + Physician anxiety = High risk of performing poorly What do patients want?: What do patients want? For themselves… more time to talk and show feelings From the doctor… more information, caring, hopefulness, confidence a familiar face Strauss 1995 What do you do?: What do you do? What have you have found helpful in making “bad news” visits go as well as possible? Slide9: S etting up the interview P erception of the patient re their illness I nvitation from patient to share info K nowledge and Information conveyed E motions responded to empathically S ummary and Strategy for follow-up 1. Setting up the interview: 1. Setting up the interview Anticipate the possibility of bad news, and arrange a follow-up visit after significant scans, biopsies etc. Avoid telephone Private setting, sitting down Turn off beeper, no interruptions Ensure adequate time 1. Setting up the interview: 1. Setting up the interview Lab reports, X-rays present Support person present , if desired Review the condition, basic prognosis and treatments before the visit HOPEFUL TONE Slide12: The one-stop cancer website for Manitoba Family Physicians www.cancercare.mb.ca “Info for Doctors” Assessing the patient’s 2. Perception: Assessing the patient’s 2. Perception ASK then TELL Important if the patient is not well known to you OR if visits to consultants have occurred “Assess the Gap” between what the patient knows and the diagnosis “What have you already been told about might be going on? “What is your understanding of why the CT scan was ordered?” Obtaining the patient’s3. Invitation : Obtaining the patient’s 3. Invitation Preferably before the visit Easier if patient is well- known Listen to patient cues “Are you the sort of person who likes to know all the details of your condition? “Would you like me to discuss the results of the CT scan with you?” Giving 4. Knowledge and Information: Giving 4. Knowledge and Information Align yourself with the patient’s understanding and vocabulary Start with a warning shot: “I’m afraid that the scan shows that the problem is fairly serious.” Give diagnosis simply, avoid euphemisms or excessive bluntness Provide information in small chunks Check frequently for understanding Giving 4. Knowledge and Information: Giving 4. Knowledge and Information Check for knowledge or experience with condition Allow for pauses, use repetition Will usually want basic but clear information re treatment plan and prognosis BUT Tune into patient readiness to hear more, and know when to stop Balancing Truth and Hope: The Skillful Use of Indirect Language S Healing et al 2006: Balancing Truth and Hope: The Skillful Use of Indirect Language S Healing et al 2006 “It looks like….” not “You have….” “there are tumours in the liver…” not “you have tumours in your liver…” Emphasize on maintaining the relationship as well as communicating the news Respond to 5. Emotions empathically: Respond to 5. Emotions empathically Observe for and allow emotional reactions Kleenex handy, use of touch N aming the feeling “I know this is upsetting” U nderstanding “It would be for anyone” R especting “You’re asking all the right questions” S upporting “I’ll do everything I can to help you through this.” 6. Summary and Strategy for follow-up: 6. Summary and Strategy for follow-up Summarize discussion Clear follow-up plan re: referral, tests, next contact (in <48 hrs) Provide written summary or brochures Refer to community resources Invite support person for next visit if not present 6. Summary and Strategy for follow-up: 6. Summary and Strategy for follow-up End on note of hope and partnership AFTER: document well assess your own reaction Six Steps for Breaking Bad News: Six Steps for Breaking Bad News S etting up the interview P erception of the patient re their illness I nvitation from patient to share info K nowledge and Information conveyed E motions responded to empathically S ummary and Strategy for follow-up Discrepancies in Ratings: Discrepancies in Ratings Patients rated the following much higher than doctor and nurses: receiving bad news in a quiet, private place arranging a follow-up visit soon to review with patient and family inform patient about support services Girgis, Behavioural Medicine 1999 Follow-up: Follow-up Please take a handout outlining the SPIKES steps in sharing bad news Try out one or two of the suggestions next time you have bad news to share Slide24: “The task of breaking bad news is a testing ground for the entire range of our professional skills and abilities. If we do it badly, the patients or family members may never forgive us; if we do it well, they will never forget us.” Robert Buckman Thank you!: Thank you!