Breaking bad news in stroke rehabilitation: a consultation with a community stroke team.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Disability and rehabilitation, 2013, 35 (8), pp. 694 - 701
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PURPOSE: Within stroke care clinicians are frequently required to break bad news to patients, however, formal training and guidance remains limited. This article provides a case example of a multidisciplinary stroke rehabilitation team consultation, and aims to contribute towards an evidence base and a model of training for breaking bad news (BBN) in stroke care. METHOD: The stroke rehabilitation team requested clinical psychology consultation to help with difficulties they were experiencing in BBN to patients. The consultation comprised an assessment of the request, development of a proposal, delivery of a workshop on BBN and an evaluation of consultation impact. A collaborative consultation model underpinned the work, which aimed to empower and facilitate the team to generate solutions by drawing upon their existing expertise. RESULTS: The consultation was found to meet the team's expectations and needs. Consultees reported increased confidence to communicate difficult messages to patients and rated the consultation highly. A follow-up review indicated the consultation had led to changes in practice. CONCLUSIONS: Communication skills are central to BBN effectively. Clinicians may be supported to recognize their existing skill set and increase confidence in their ability to break bad news through a process of collaborative team consultation.
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