Minerva

Hospital cleaners and other stories . . .

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3101 (Published 08 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3101

Tidying rooms and tending hearts

The cleaner slips out as the consultant and her entourage sweep in, looking uneasy. The patient is very ill and may die. A few words are said, then the cleaner comes back to replace the medical team. Hospital cleaning staff’s experiences with seriously ill and dying patients are explored in a mixed methods study from Germany (Palliat Med doi:10.1177/0269216316648071). Patients often talk to them about general topics and sometimes about illness and death, which can cause feelings of discomfort and helplessness.

GPs’ first impressions and cancer diagnosis

GPs need to balance an acceptance of uncertainty with vigilance for symptoms that may indicate serious disease. This skill was assessed in an interactive telephone consultation study presenting six case scenarios to 90 British GPs (Med …

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