chapter  Chapter 9
18 Pages

Key ethical issues in communication

WithJanet Dunphy, Mary Kiely

This chapter discusses in more detail the difficult ethical problems that commonly arise in palliative care, and crucially, offers some guidance regarding helpful communication. Inter-professional communication can be difficult, sometimes to the point of creating huge stress. Clinical communication was shared amongst all relevant people. Most importantly, the appropriate treatment was prescribed and part of that prescription was excellent communication skills. When family members are in the midst of a personally distressing situation, it can be difficult for them to think about future events and to consider the effects of incomplete communication. Medical treatment decisions are the responsibility of doctors. They have the science, knowledge and expertise to make these decisions. The chapter relates to communication when a professional is faced with difficult ethical issues, when tensions arise between the principle of veracity and the desire to protect the patient from the harm that truth may cause.