Dr Lee Chung Seng, St Andrew’s Community Hospital, Singapore

Although palliative medicine prides itself in managing complex communications in emotionally-laden circumstances, little is written about management or coping of these interactions by palliative care providers.

There is importance to address interactions and its effect on healthcare providers, so as to encourage staff retention and prevent burnout. Challenging interactions could leave both the doctor and the patient feeling frustrated and dissatisfied, and can decrease the trust in the doctor-patient relationship. It is also therefore, important to understand and address interactions, to promote wellness to ensure good quality care can be provided to patients and families, in this important field of medicine.

This study aims to understand what constitutes as challenging interactions in a palliative setting from the perspective of the healthcare providers. It also aims to explore the impact of such interactions and the subsequent self-coping mechanisms used to manage emotions resulting from these interactions. The study will also aim to develop a series of practical responses the healthcare provider can adopt when dealing with these circumstances.

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