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Views And Reviews Acute Perspective

David Oliver: How much information should patients’ families expect on acute wards?

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 11 October 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j4295
  1. David Oliver, consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine
  1. Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}

One of the biggest stressors in work for me and my colleagues, junior and senior, is the relentless demand for information—not from patients themselves but from their relatives.

It’s taboo to talk about this in public for fear of appearing callous and uncaring. But it comes up whenever a group of medics unburden themselves in a safe space. I’m happy to break the taboo and to be found wanting for doing so.

The source of this stress is rarely visitors who are involved carers, supporting the patient day in, day out. They are often highly present on the wards, making frequent interaction and updates easier. It’s crucial to involve …

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