Is it appropriate to use Western guidelines for breaking bad news in non-Western emergency departments? A patients’ perspective

Ali Labaf, Amirhosein Jahanshir*, Hamid Baradaran, Amir Shahvaraninasab

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To find whether Western guidelines on breaking bad news in a nonemergency department are appropriate for an emergency department of a non-Western country; according to patients’ preferences. Method: We designed a 19 items questionnaire of Likert-type scale and interviewed 156 patients in the emergency department of a referral hospital in Iran. Results: The patients’ preferences in 9 out of 19 statements were similar to the guidelines. “Using the maternal language” received the strongest agreement. The strongest disagreement was on “encouraging the patients to talk after receiving bad news.” The summative scores of subsection indicated strong agreement for cultural issues, followed by communication skills, breaking bad news session, and privacy. Conclusion: The patients’ preferences were not completely consistent with the guidelines.We could not determine if it was a situational or cultural issue. However, it is reasonable to design a new guideline for breaking bad news, considering these factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Ethics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015



  • Culture
  • Death notification
  • Truth disclosure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy

Cite this