Maddern, R & Kneebone, II 2019, 'Receiving Bad News: A Thematic Analysis of Stroke Survivor Experiences.', Journal of patient experience, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 271-277.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Background:Breaking bad news to patients may be required in service provision to stroke survivors. While challenging, it may be critical to the retention of optimism and participation in rehabilitation. Objectives:To explore the experience of stroke survivors when receiving bad news (RBN) from medical practitioners. Methods:Data were obtained via 1:1 interviews conducted at stroke support groups with survivors at least 12 months into recovery and subsequently transcribed for thematic analysis and coded using NVivo. Results:Eight of 10 participants experienced RBN, and 2 participants did not. The themes of being "lucky to be alive" and waiting for "delayed information" were expressed by all participants early in the interviews. Three sub-themes emerged and were labelled alliance, dissent, and dissatisfaction, each with a further 3 contextual themes. The perception of RBN was marked amongst the dissent and dissatisfaction groups, with the latter reporting negative implications for their rehabilitation as well as negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety. The perception of a poor-quality relationship with medical practitioners was said to impede rehabilitation and recovery processes. The dissent group was characterized by initial disbelief after RBN and consequently poorer long-term outcomes, whilst the Alliance group experienced very good quality of care due to existing personal knowledge and therefore did not perceive RBN during their early medical meetings. Conclusions:In the period soon after their stroke, survivors required their medical practitioners to not only communicate knowledge and information, but also needed validation of their hopes and fears for the future from an empathically attuned clinician.