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Discussing adverse outcomes with patients 

Discussing adverse outcomes with patients
Discussing adverse outcomes with patients

Andy S.L. Tan

and Thomas H. Gallagher

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date: 19 January 2019

Few communication challenges are as difficult for healthcare providers as talking with patients about adverse events, especially when the adverse event was due to a medical error. Ethicists and professional organizations have long endorsed open communication with patients about adverse events and errors in their care. Over the past decade, however, there has been a substantial increase in attention being paid to transparent communication with patients. Many countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada have undertaken major disclosure initiatives. The Joint Commission, the body responsible for the accreditation of most US healthcare facilities, requires that patients be informed of all outcomes in their care, including ‘unanticipated outcomes’. In this chapter, we will explore the special aspects of disclosure in the oncology context, among many other important aspects. The chapter concludes by considering a disclosure case study, and discussing next steps for disclosure in oncology.

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