Article Text

Importance of Communication in end-stage heart failure
  1. Allison Bentley
  1. Allison Bentley, at the time of writing, was a district nurse, Cambridge City Primary Care Trust. She is now Palliative Care Specialist Nurse, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge. Email:{at}


Specialist palliative and end-of-life care has traditionally only been offered to patients diagnosed with cancer. However, there has been much debate recently about the need to expand palliative care services to those with a non-cancer diagnosis. This article focuses on heart failure. It reviews literature examining the need for enhanced communication techniques designed to improve palliative care for patients with heart failure. Communication in heart failure is complex because of difficulties in prognostication and the desire to protect patients from distressing information. The article discusses the importance of effective communication and dissemination of information between different health sectors, teams, staff, patients and carers. It explores new models and working methods that have been developed. Additional findings are discussed demonstrating that patients and carers value relevant and timely information provided by staff skilled in communication. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Communication
  • Heart failure
  • Information
  • Palliative and end-of-life care

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