Life is hard, but we can cope if we share it together

Categories: In The Media.

In the blog, Dr Salwitz described the two major issues which arise with poor end of life communication: decision chaos (“When family members do not have a similar understanding of what is going on decisions are difficult and unstable”) and loss of natural support (“You cannot say goodbye when you do not know someone is leaving or cannot discuss the journey”).

It is common for doctors to hear things like “Do not tell my husband that his cancer is fatal.” “Don’t tell my parents I’m dying.” and “We will talk about it when things get really bad.”

But Dr Salwitz explains: “In order to get permission to talk openly to other family members, a doctor or caregiver must show that that they can give bad news in a gentle and supportive way. The person asking you to keep the bad news secret is worried you are going to cause pain and panic. The key is how you interact with that first person. If you are gentle with them, listen well, give support, and explain clearly, they will believe that you will be the same with the one they love. Then, likely, they will allow a more open discussion.”

Read the post ‘Dying Secrets’ on the blog Sunrise Rounds.

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