The challenge of giving bad news
Bad news can be defined as any information that adversely alters an individual’s expectations for the future. Telling a patient bad news, such as a diagnosis of cancer or other potentially life-limiting condition, can be challenging for healthcare professionals. It can arouse strong emotions, particularly for those who have a long-term relationship with the patient. Clinicians may feel sadness or even guilt if the cause of symptoms was not diagnosed earlier. These are normal responses, and self-acknowledgement may avoid projecting feelings or biases onto the patient or caregiver.