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Module 5: Improving Communication and Strengthening Relationships

Difficult Conversations in Pediatric Palliative Care: Communication in the Context of Relationship


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This seminar focuses on the major challenges faced by practitioners when engaging in difficult conversations with children and families at pivotal points on the spectrum between treatment aimed at cure (while providing palliative interventions), to treatment focused solely on palliative care. A summary of the literature is presented, along with a review of the cornerstones of clinical practice as they apply to communicative and relational competence in pediatric palliative care. The first segment of a three-part videotape will be presented in order to ground the presentation and discussion in the perspective of children and families, and in the clinical experience of practitioners.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Summarize the major insights from the literature relevant to understanding successful communication of bad news between practitioners and children/families.
  • Review four cornerstones of clinical practice in pediatric palliative care as they apply to engaging in difficult conversations with children and families.
  • Understand the importance of communication skills being grounded in the establishment of caring and compassionate relationships with children and families.
  • Begin to identify attitudes, skills, and behaviors relevant to developing communicative and relational competence that is flexible and context-specific.

[Go to Activity 2]
[Go to Activity 3]