Thursday 9th April 2020 For many primary care professionals this is a time of increased pressure and stress. Prioritisation of your own health and wellbeing is important at this time: it is infinitely more challenging to provide outstanding care for others, when you...
Resource: discussing suspected cancer symptoms over the phone
Latest from the Blog
Thursday 8th April 2020 GatewayC have produced a list of cancer charity support lines; for patients who may be worried about their cancer diagnosis or concerned how coronavirus may affect their cancer treatment. Please download this PDF resource or find the list of...
Monday 30th December 2019 With 2019 drawing to a close, we've rounded up some of the most popular tips from GatewayC this year, based on our users' comments and feedback. Take a look below! Chest x-rays aren’t as accurate as you may think... NICE consulted on...
Thursday 12th December 2019 The National Cancer Diagnosis Audit found that 34% of stomach cancer diagnoses had avoidable delays. This course is developed with and for primary care professionals to look at the different ways to assess and manage a patient's potential...
Thursday 7th May 2020
Discussing suspected cancer symptoms over the phone can be challenging. To navigate this, we have created a downloadable PDF resource for primary care teams, in partnership with The Maguire Communication Skills Training Unit. This resource covers five important principles:
1. Eliciting the patient’s perception is key
If a patient is already worried that their symptoms might indicate something serious, it will allow you to gently acknowledge and confirm that their symptoms are cause for concern and will need to be investigated further. This is much easier for the patient to manage than if the information is introduced cold.
Because there are no visual cues on the phone this makes listening for verbal cues doubly important. Listen for tone of voice, sighs, silence, words or phrases that suggest a difficult emotion, worry or concern.
2. Warning shots
Prefaced with words such as “unfortunately”, “sadly”, “I’m afraid” followed by a pause will help people to prepare for the information/bad news whether or not they suspect.
3. Deliver the news with compassion and honesty
Bad news is bad news and people will be upset. However your kindness and compassion can make a huge difference to how they cope. Pause frequently to allow information to be absorbed.
Verbally acknowledging people’s feelings and worries helps to reduce their distress and anxiety. This is showing a high level of compassion.
5. Acknowledge and clarify questions
Once you have acknowledged the new emotions, find out the fears and worries before providing reassurance or further information.
Further information and next steps can be discussed when the person has had opportunity to voice their concerns and questions.
Find out more:
- Download The Maguire Communication Skills Training Unit’s resource here