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SAGE Palliative Medicine & Chronic Care

Jan 10, 2023

This episode features Dr Joyce Chung and Weilin Chen (School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China).

What is already known about the topic:

  • End-of-life communication can improve patients’ quality of life, ease the bereavement experience, raise care satisfaction and reduce the utilisation of aggressive and expensive medical care.
  • Healthcare professionals’ perceived barriers, such as fear of causing distress, impede the delivery of end-of-life conversations in a professional, sensitive and appropriate manner.
  • The communication strategies available to healthcare professionals for discussing end-of-life issues with terminally ill patients and their families have not yet been systematically summarised.

What this paper adds:

  • This review systematically examines, summarises and presents recommended end-of-life communication strategies for healthcare professionals.
  • It organises these communication strategies into seven themes that should be considered when delivering end-of-life conversations.
  • This review highlights that further research is needed to explore patients’ and families’ perspectives on healthcare professionals’ end-of-life communication strategies; and available strategies in non-Anglo-Saxon countries.

Implications for practice, theory or policy:

  • The valuable strategies outlined in this review will assist and support healthcare professionals when having end-of-life conversations with their patients.
  • Further training and education plans should be developed and implemented based on the study findings.
  • Further research is needed to explore patients’ and their families’ experiences and views on end-of-life communication strategies used by healthcare professionals; and practical strategies to use in non-Anglo-Saxon countries.

Full paper available from:

If you would like to record a podcast about your published (or accepted) Palliative Medicine paper, please contact Dr Amara Nwosu: