A child is diagnosed with a terminal illness. How do we communicate this to the child and his parents?
When children are affected by terminal illnesses it is heartbreaking for all involved. A child dying disturbs some of our deepest conventions: Children are symbols of future potential and hope. Therefore their deaths cause us to mourn more deeply than we would for others.
Before starting any thinking about how you are going to tell your patient/parent there are a few valuable things that you must remember and these are all to do with being a good communicator. •Eye contact – Your eye contact needs to be confident and you need to be able to look at these people straight in the eye when breaking this news. However do not be over bearing or intimidating as you may make the patient/parent feel uneasy and uncomfortable. •Body Language – Again your body language must be confident, as if you are confident there is more chance of making the patient/parent more comfortable and to place more trust in you, however if you where showing signs of being nervous or scared to inform them of this news then you will make this ordeal twice as bad for the patient/parent. •Speech – Again confidence is key, no shouting or loud voices as this becomes scary however quiet voices are not good either. You need to be clear and calm there can be no room for shakiness or rumbling in your voice.
To break the news to a parent/patient we need to make sure that we ourselves are sufficiently informed concerning the patient’s situation and illness. You also must make sure that you are able to break this news in the best way possible for the patient. There are three main steps in which you should follow;
1.Preparing for the consultation
You need to firstly ask your receptionist to make an...