Title: Fast Fact and Concept #76: Telephone Notification of Death: Part 1
Author(s): Rosalia R. Osias, MD, Daniel H. Pomerantz, MD, Jeffrey M. Brensilver, MD, FACP
Telephone notification to family members about a death is one of the most challenging and stressful communication skills, especially for cross-covering housestaff who may have had no direct interactions with the patient or family. Unpredictable variables are involved; telephone notification does not allow the same level of interaction possible with direct personal contact. When telephone notification is unavoidable, here are suggested guidelines (see next Fast Fact for discussion of immediate telephone vs. delayed in-person notification).PREPARING FOR THE CALL
The call should be made as soon as possible following the death. Whenever possible, inform the family of a grave turn of events prior to death. When substantial delay is likely, the responsibility for informing the family should be taken by the covering doctor (or the resident).THE ACTUAL NOTIFICATION
Fast Fact #4: Death Pronouncement
Fast Fact #64: Informing significant others of a patients death
Fast Fact #77: Telephone Notification of Death: Part 2
Copyright and Referencing Information: Users are free to download and distribute Fast Facts for educational purposes only. Citation for referencing. Fast Facts and Concepts #76 Telephone Notification of Death Part 1. RR Osias, D H Pomerantz, and JM Brensilver. October 2002. End-of-Life Physician Education Resource Center @ www.eperc.mcw.edu.
Fast Facts and Concepts was originally developed as an end-of-life teaching tool by Eric Warm, MD, U. Cincinnati, Department of Medicine. See: Warm, E. Improving EOL care--internal medicine curriculum project. J Pall Med 1999; 2: 339-340.
Disclaimer: Fast Facts provide educational information, this information is not medical advice. Health care providers should exercise their own independent clinical judgment. Some Fast Fact information cites the use of a product in dosage, for an indication, or in a manner other than that recommended in the product labeling. Accordingly, the official prescribing information should be consulted before any such product is used.
Creation Date: 10/2002
Purpose: Instructional Aid, Self-Study Guide, Teaching
|Training: Fellows, 1st/2nd Year Medical Students, 3rd/4th Year Medical Students, PGY1 (Interns), PGY2-6, Physicians in Practice|
|Specialty: Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Hematology/Oncology, Neurology, OB/GYN, Ophthalmology, Pulmonary/Critical Care, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery|
|Non-Physician: Clergy/Chaplains, Nurses, Social Workers|
ACGME Competencies: Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Patient Care
Keyword(s): Communications skills, Death pronouncement, Discussing hospice care, Family conference, Giving bad news, Negotiating treatment goals, Personal reflection, Prognosis
The Fast Facts series is distributed for educational use only and does not constitute medical advice. For the most current version of Fast Facts visit the EPERC web site at www.eperc.mcw.edu. This mirror version is provided subject to copyright restrictions for educational use within the Inter-Instutional Collaborating Network on End-of-Life Care (IICN).