A process for delivering bad news: supporting families when a child is diagnosed

J Neurosci Nurs. 2001 Feb;33(1):14-20. doi: 10.1097/01376517-200102000-00003.


A process for delivering bad news to families of children with a neurodegenerative disorder was developed to enhance the families' coping abilities and to lessen the impact of the devastating news. Its creation was guided by a review of the literature on parental satisfaction with and preferences for diagnosis delivery, published guidelines for breaking bad news, and the concepts of coping, grief, support, hope, and family-centered care. Nurses play a collaborative role in the implementation of this process that remains sensitive to the needs of each family. Their influence on how the interaction takes place and their support of the family both during and after they receive bad news are pivotal. Research to formally evaluate the outcomes of the interventions and strategies within the process is necessary.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Family / psychology*
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Morale
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / nursing
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / psychology
  • Nursing Care / methods*
  • Nursing Care / psychology*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Psychology, Child
  • Social Support*
  • Truth Disclosure*