The troubles of telling: managing communication about the end of life

Broom, Alex, Kirby, Emma, Good, Phillip, Wootton, Julia and Adams, Jon (2013) The troubles of telling: managing communication about the end of life. Qualitative Health Research, 24 2: 151-162. doi:10.1177/1049732313519709

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Author Broom, Alex
Kirby, Emma
Good, Phillip
Wootton, Julia
Adams, Jon
Title The troubles of telling: managing communication about the end of life
Journal name Qualitative Health Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1049-7323
Publication date 2013-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1049732313519709
Open Access Status
Volume 24
Issue 2
Start page 151
End page 162
Total pages 12
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Communication about palliative care represents one of the most difficult interpersonal aspects of medicine. Delivering the “terminal” diagnosis has traditionally been the focus of research, yet transitions to specialist palliative care are equally critical clinical moments. Here we focus on 20 medical specialists’ strategies for engaging patients around referral to specialist palliative care. Our aim was to develop an understanding of the logics that underpin their communication strategies when negotiating this transition. We draw on qualitative interviews to explore their accounts of deciding whether and when to engage in referral discussions; the role of uncertainty and the need for hope in shaping communication; and their perceptions of how patient biographies might shape their approaches to, and communication about, the end of life. On the basis of our analysis, we argue that communication is embedded in social relations of hope, justice, and uncertainty, as well as being shaped by patient biographies.
Keyword Communication
End-of-life issues
Interviews, semistructured
Palliative care
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
School of Social Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 04 Sep 2013, 11:42:40 EST by Mary Anne Patton on behalf of School of Social Science