Author(s): Atkinson M
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Abstract AIM: To identify the most appropriate method of breaking news of a patient's death to unrelated stem cell donors, and to establish best practice guidelines based on the findings. METHOD: In this retrospective study, 100 unrelated stem cell donors from the Welsh Bone Marrow Donor Registry were interviewed regarding their experiences of receiving news of a patient's death. results were analysed by counting responses to the interview schedule, and identifying common themes from the open comments. RESULTS: Of the 100 participants, 78 had been informed of the patient's death by letter and 22 by telephone with the option of a follow-up letter. Overall, 61 per cent (n=61) of donors interviewed preferred to be contacted by telephone, 25 per cent (n=25) by letter and 13 per cent (n=13) by face-to-face contact at a visit. CONCLUSION: There is no easy way to break bad news, and each individual responds to grief in a unique way. By building up a trusting relationship with the donor, the healthcare professional can assess the individual to ascertain which method of receiving news of a patient's death would be most appropriate.
This article was published in Nurs Stand
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics