This article focuses on the severe, long-term and debilitating distress that may be experienced by patients as a result of their interactions with healthcare professionals and services. It is essential for healthcare professionals to be able to respond effectively to severe patient distress resulting from episodes of healthcare. Severe and enduring patient distress can occur in response to neglect – even when unintentional, misdiagnosis, surgical errors and/or deficits in the quality of care. Severe and enduring distress experienced by patients may go unacknowledged; the long-term consequences may not be recognised, or resolution may be presumed following formal apologies or receipt of compensation. An emphasis on the duty of candour has increased awareness of the importance of honesty and acknowledgement of adverse events or ‘near misses’ in the healthcare setting, in improving the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals.
Nursing Standard. 31, 31, 54-63. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10285Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareConflict of interest
Received: 18 September 2015
Accepted: 08 December 2016
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