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Managing communication with young people who have a potentially life threatening chronic illness: qualitative study of patients and parents

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7384.305 (Published 08 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:305

Towards a proper communication

As a pediatric oncologist I'm very involved in this communication.
In my opinion an open communication is a prerequisite for the acceptance of treatment.
But all of us involved in this communication (physician, psychologist,
nurse, etc.) must take into account the couple of child and parents.

Every family has a history of development which depends on the education,
conception and behaviour of the parents. Some children are overprotected
and are more dependent. They are not prepared for an open communication.
But there are many clever children. Children are more mature than they were ten
years ago. The explosion of communication, mass media, internet, give
today a large possibility for clear and competent information. Every
child sooner or later will know the diagnosis.
The best communication is with the child and the parents at once, in the
presence of the treating team and the psychologist.

Another important factor is the quality of the communication.
The physician, the nurse and the psychologist must have good communication
skills. We must know very well the psychology of the child. We must have
enough availability for this dialogue and be honest.
There is no unique solution for a proper communication.
But when we love children and search not to harm them, we shall find the
way to acomplish this difficult duty and win the confidence of the patient
and his or her family.

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 February 2003
Eugen Victor Gruber
oncopediatrician
Oncology Institute, Oncopediatric Department, Sos. Fundeni 252, 72435 Bucharest, Romania