Good Communication - Medication Management - Managing Risk

Good Communication

Good communication with family and friends as things change is important.

  • Family and friends try to get the person to take medications that are no longer needed or not in line with the person’s preferences.
  • Family and friends are concerned the person is not being well cared for.
  • Keep family and friends up to date (where consent is given) with the person’s choices and preferences.
  • Use family meetings and case conferences to exchange information and build a shared understanding of the changing circumstances.
  • Seek feedback from families and friends about their experience and how processes could be improved.

Good communication at the end of a person’s life involves the ability to both give and receive information at a time where strong emotions and stress can affect even the most experienced health professional.

Involving the right people in communication about changes to medications at the end of life helps ensure those involved in the person’s care have a shared understanding about how to support quality of life and avoid prolonged suffering. If the person has capacity they should be involved in all conversations and meetings about their care and treatment.

Family meetings and case conferences can be helpful

Family meetings or case conferences (where the person consents) are an important way of getting everyone together to facilitate communication and navigate conflicting views about treatment. They can play an important role in planning care and supporting decisions relating to end of life in accordance with the person’s wishes.

Good communication considerations:

  • Use clear language that avoids too many medical terms.
  • Provide honest answers to questions.
  • Content that is informed by evidence.
  • Respect everyone’s contributions and do not talk over the person who is dying, their family or friends.
  • Check whether there is good understanding of what has been discussed.
  • Use appropriate tools for people who are non-speaking, including  communication cards, translating services and family members where possible.

Page updated 06 February 2024