Reactions to serious diagnosis include

Ultimately most patients come to acceptance of their condition; carers/ partners will also go through a similar range of reactions. The clinician needs to be aware of the way in which news of a diagnosis is likely to affect a patient and his/her family/carers and respond appropriately. In the first instance this will often involve the need to impart the diagnosis, what it means and what needs to be done clinically. There is no 'right way' to impart bad or difficult news. It is very important to make and take time to tell the patient of the diagnosis. Wherever possible this should be done in a quiet, private setting. Numbness at learning of a serious diagnosis often means that very little is taken in initially other than the diagnostic label. The various reactions listed above may subsequently emerge during the time the patient comes to accept the diagnosis, what it means and what is to be done clinically.

Within the haematological team there should be support available to the 540 patient and family/carers which can provide them with practical information about the disease and its management. Simply knowing there is a sympathetic ear may be all that is required in the way of support; however, for some patients and families/carers more specialised support may be needed e.g. availability of formal counselling or access to psychological or psychiatric support.

Use can be made of local or national patient support groups; knowledge of others in similar predicaments can help diffuse anger and loneliness. Support groups can also be a valuable resource in providing information and experience which patients and families/carers find helpful.

The most effective psychological support for haematological patients is to see them as individuals and not 'diseases'.

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