Breaking bad news--a flow diagram

Palliat Med. 1994;8(2):145-51. doi: 10.1177/026921639400800208.


Breaking bad news is neither an easy nor a popular task. Properly handled, however, it can be given in a positive way that the individual can both accept and understand. There may be a range of emotions and concerns following the telling of bad news. These need to be explored and worked through with each individual. This flow diagram describes the steps in this important process.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Death
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Reality Testing
  • Research Design*
  • Sick Role
  • Truth Disclosure*