Breaking bad news in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Palliat Med. 1993;7(4 Suppl):37-40. doi: 10.1177/0269216393007004S07.


There are many difficulties of communication with patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neurone disease). In France, most physicians have a policy of keeping the fact of this diagnosis from both patients and relatives. This paper describes an alternative approach based on open communication, and applies that principle to handling issues of communication associated with various aspects of four different topics: the diagnosis itself, the development of handicap, swallowing difficulties, and respiratory difficulties.

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Motor Neuron Disease / complications
  • Motor Neuron Disease / psychology*
  • Motor Neuron Disease / therapy*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Respiration Disorders / etiology
  • Truth Disclosure*