Ethics in Child Health – Chapter 8: Truth with hope (ebook)


Chapter 8 of the book – Truth with hope: ethical challenges in disclosing ‘bad’ diagnostic, prognostic and intervention information

Communicating bad news to parents and carers must be recognized as a process rather than a one-time event. When this process is done ineptly or insensitively it can add a considerable burden to the suffering experienced by families new to the ‘career’ of parents of a child with a chronic problem. In this sensitive and also practical chapter, Novak and colleagues discuss the communication of bad news by exploring the processes through an ethical framework, and present comments from several parents to illustrate the impact that this process can have. The authors then provide an evidence-based approach to sharing ‘bad news’, developed in the field of cancer care (the six steps of the SPIKES framework) as a guide to this challenging but essential step in building a relationship with families.

About the complete book

Have you ever:

  • Wondered how to deal with a family that repeatedly fails to keep clinic appointments?
  • Disagreed with colleagues over a proposed course of treatment for a child?
  • Considered ways to ‘bump’ a child on a waiting to speed up their assessment?

These are a few of the scenarios faced by clinicians in neurodisability on a daily basis. Ethics in Child Health explores the ethical dimensions of these issues that have either been ignored or not recognised. Each chapter is built around a scenario familiar to clinicians and is discussed with respect to how ethical principles can be utilised to inform decision-making. Useful ‘Themes for Discussion’ are provided at the end of each chapter to help professionals and students develop practical ethical thinking. Ethics in Child Health offers a set of principles that clinicians, social workers and policy-makers can utilise in their respective spheres of influence.


Readership: clinicians and paediatricians in neurodisability, service providers in neurodisability, community-based health professionals,  and health policy makers.

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