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“You are a registrar on an elderly care ward and you have been asked to talk to the angry relative of an elderly man who has developed norovirus on the ward, and the ward has been closed. He was admitted for an elective hip repair, but then developed a hospital acquired infection. There has since then been an outbreak of norovirus on the ward and he has now got it confirmed. The daughter is very angry with his care and wants to know why. The patient has given you permission to talk to the daughter.”

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This communication skills station is difficult due to a distressed and angry relative.

The doctor checks who the patient is, and allows the relative to express her frustration and anger. She checks the diagnoses and goes through the need for the fluids to prevent rehydration.

The doctor also provides information on how to ensure that the care is at the standard that is expected, by asking the relative to help, along with everyone else, to ensure cleanliness.

The doctor does not get angry, and goes through the timeline of events that occurred in her father’s illness.

The doctor also goes through the management plans that have occurred due to the various illnesses.

The doctor acknowledges the issues at every turn and explains the difficulties of preventing hospital acquired infections.

She also explains the discharge criteria required.

The doctor, also advises the best method on how to complain. This is not something that is hidden, and if relatives or patients want to complain, then they are free to do so and should not be prevented from doing so.

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