Belfast Telegraph

Telling relatives about patient death is hard

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

For the past several years I’ve worked in a geriatric ward and I really enjoy what I do.

I have a good relationship with my patients but, inevitably, many of them die. I don’t find this difficult to deal with.

What is hard, though, is dealing with relatives. I find it hard to call them and I just never seem to know the right words to say.

I try to sound sympathetic but I am never sure it comes across and I always feel, afterwards, as though I’ve failed in some way. BA

FIONA SAYS: EXTRA TRAINING MAY HELP

Telling someone about the death of a person they love is never going to be easy.

It really doesn't matter what you say, they are going to feel sad and hurt — especially if they were close to the person who died.

“Could I speak to Mr/s X? I'm afraid I have some bad news” has to be the usual way to start a phone call, I would think.

However, you could ask your employer if there are any opportunities to attend courses or receive training on this matter.

Cruse, the bereavement care charity, for example, runs one-day courses.

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