The Disclosure Part 7

Be sure to spend sufficient time with the patient and family. A perceived lack of empathy and/or poor communication may drive the patient and family members to seek legal counsel in order to get answers. Carefully listen and answer questions to the best of your ability. Focus on the patient, not on yourself. Maintain eye contact and be mindful of your tone of voice and body language. Sincerely acknowledge the patient’s reaction and the situation, and communicate your understanding of the patient’s and family’s feelings.

Next, discuss the patient’s current condition and continued treatment, the medical consequences of the event on the patient’s health, and subsequent steps.

Present only those facts supported by evidence. If complete facts are unknown, admit that and tell the patient and family you are reviewing the case. When the time is right and if appropriate, discuss the plan to prevent a similar recurrence. Provide your contact information and remain available for future conversations.