Should doctors standardize their expressions of sympathy?

A majority of oncology professionals believe that writing condolence letters to the families of deceased patients is an important component of cancer palliative care, the results of a new survey indicate. | Story via Science Daily

The results of a new survey published in ecancermedicalscience indicate that a majority of oncology professionals believe that writing condolence letters to the families of deceased patients is an important component of cancer palliative care.

The study explored whether institutions should consider changing policies to raise condolence letters to a more official standing.

But because this practice is a personal grace note, it has rarely been studied or discussed. In particular, this issue hasn’t been researched in the UK, where cultural practices surrounding grief are often private.

Abstract available here

Full reference: Letters of condolence: assessing attitudes and variability in practice amongst oncologists and palliative care doctors in Yorkshire ecancermedicalscience, 2016; 10 DOI: 10.3332/ecancer.2016.642

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