Palliative Pearls – Oops! – When communication goes sideways.

Medical situations with ill patients can change quickly and communication missteps are common. Here are our favorite phrases to repair/re-establish rapport.

“I think I just said something unhelpful. Let me try that again.”

“I have been using a lot of technical jargon. Let me try to be clearer.”

“I understand you have some concerns. How can I help?”

“I am sorry communication hasn’t been as good as it could be. I would like to improve that. Where would you like to get started?”

When emotions are strong or families are frustrated, we need to double down on communication, even when our tendency is to avoid the conflict.

For more information contact Dr. Leslie Estep or Dr. Anita Meyer at Hospice of the Northwest, 360-814-5550, or or

All Palliative Pearls and other resources can be found under the provider tab at

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