Patterns of Communication About Serious Illness in the Years, Months, and Days before Death

Mattias Tranberg, Juliet Jacobsen, Carl Johan Fürst, Jacob Engellau, Maria E C Schelin

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Background: Communication with patients and families about serious illness impacts quality of life and helps facilitate decision-making.

Objective: To elucidate the pattern of communication about serious illness for patients who have died in an inpatient setting.

Design: Three hundred patients from the Swedish Registry of Palliative Care 2015-2017 were randomly selected for manual chart review.

Setting: Patients who died in a palliative care, oncology, or internal medicine unit in Sweden were selected.

Measurements: We report on the frequency of conversations at three time points, 6 months or longer before death ("Years"), 15 days-6 months before death ("Months"), and 0-14 days before death ("Days"). We also report the timing of the conversation about dying.

Results: A total of 249 patients were included after exclusions; they had an average of 2.1 conversations (range 1-6). The first conversation took place a median of 53 days before death and the last conversation took place a median of 9 days before death. Separate conversations with the next of kin took place a median of two days before death. We could verify a conversation about dying in only 156/249 (63%) medical records.

Conclusions: Communication about serious illness between clinicians, patients, and families occurs iteratively over a period before death. Measuring the quality of communication about serious illness using a years, months, and days framework may help ensure that patients and families have sufficient information for medical and personal decision making.

Sidor (från-till)116-122
Antal sidor7
TidskriftPalliative Medicine Reports
StatusPublished - 2022 aug. 4

Bibliografisk information

© Mattias Tranberg et al., 2022; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Omvårdnad
  • Hälso- och sjukvårdsorganisation, hälsopolitik och hälsoekonomi
  • Medicinsk etik


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