Original Article

Telephone communication with relatives of hospitalised COVID-19 patients by a specialised family support team: lessons learned


During March and April 2020, the number of hospital admissions and deaths due to the first wave of COVID-19 peaked. The objective of this study was to analyse the experiences of a team of health professionals in charge of breaking bad news over the telephone to the relatives of patients admitted to the respiratory ward of a large hospital in Barcelona.

This was a qualitative research based on semi-structured individual interviews with all the members of the team and a group interview. The interviews were analysed using Condensation of Meaning techniques.

Three central themes emerged after analysing the interviews: (1) the call itself, (2) the need for good organisational support both before and during a crisis, and (3) the care that the professionals themselves need.

To set up a large-scale operation to break bad news over the phone, some organisational aspects must be considered that go beyond the call itself. All these aspects are interrelated to a large extent, and due attention should be given to proper communication and adequate care practices for both relatives and health workers.

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IssueVol 14 (2021) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/jmehm.v14i18.8178
Health communication Communication barriers Professional-family relations COVID-19

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How to Cite
Ayora A, Nogueras C, Jiménez-Panés S, Cortiñas-Rovira S. Telephone communication with relatives of hospitalised COVID-19 patients by a specialised family support team: lessons learned. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 2021;14.