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Chiropractic Research Review

Improving Communication with Your Patients

Conveying bad news to a patient may be one of the most stressful, least enjoyable aspects of practice. Although most chiropractors rarely give patients a life-threatening diagnosis, they may have occasion to tell patients of life-altering conditions or diseases.

This paper explores the doctor-patient relationship and discusses methods of improving the communication process.

Appropriate (and inappropriate) methods of delivering bad news are discussed, including:

* arranging a mutually convenient time for the meeting;
* giving news in person, not over the telephone;
* allowing adequate time for the meeting; and
* giving the patient the opportunity to have a friend, spouse or relative present.

Also included are several tables to aid clinicians in maximizing the communication process with their patients. Issues such as physician fears regarding the breaking of bad news; what patients want from their physician; and patient reactions to bad news are presented.

Employing effective communication strategies when delivering bad news can help clinicians and patients make an uncomfortable task as easy as possible.

Bowers LJ. Back to basics: "I've got some bad news...." Topics in Clinical Chiropractic, March 1999:6(1), pp1-8. Reprints: (800) 248-0360

Chiropractic Research Review

Dynamic Chiropractic
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