Breaking Bad News

Being involved in Emergency Care, by it’s very nature, sadly means that we will have to break bad news to patients and families both in the prehospital & in-hospital setting.

Breaking bad news well has benefits to both the recipient of that news and also to the provider delivering it. Teaching and education on the topic can be difficult to access and not always prioritised.

In this episode we run through some of the evidence around breaking bad news, techniques and structures to follow and talk about the practicalities of adopting these, along with our own varied personal thoughts and styles.

We hope listening to the podcast gives you an opportunity to reflect on how we could all work and improve on breaking bad news and also helps to make the process a little bit easier.

Once again we’d love to hear any thoughts or feedback either on the website or via twitter @TheResusRoom.


Simon, Rob & James

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The Association of Death Notification and Related Training with Burnout among Emergency Medical Services Professionals. Abraham Campos. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2021

Interventions to Improve the Breaking of Bad or Difficult News by Physicians, Medical Students, and Interns/Residents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Judith Johnson. Acad Med. 2018

Death in the field: teaching paramedics to deliver effective death notifications using the educational intervention “GRIEV_ING”. Cherri Hobgood. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2013

LITFL; Breaking Bad News to Patients and Relatives

Training for difficult conversations and breaking bad news over the phone in the emergency department. Anna Collini. Emerg Med J. 2021

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