CHS48 Communicate significant news to individuals


This standard covers the communication of significant news to individuals.  This generic standard has been developed to cover the communication of significant news across all health services. This standard is confined to the imparting of significant news to adults only.  Paediatric services are excluded.

Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Version No 1

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:

  1. National and/or local policy and guidelines for the identification of individuals
  2. The range of information that should be made available to the individual
  3. The guidelines relevant to your own and others’ roles and the responsibilities, accountability and duties of yourself and others when communicating significant news
  4. National and/or local policy and guidelines for communicating significant news
  5. National and/or local policy and guidelines for the individual’s records, their storage and confidentiality of information
  6. The management of emotional distress
  7. The possible impact of all aspects of significant news on the individual’s well-being
  8. The environments that are most appropriate for communicating significant news
  9. The range of communication difficulties and sources of resources to aid communication
  10. The importance of clear and direct communications.
  11. The importance of the individual’s choice and the ways in which they can be supported to make an informed choice
  12. The interpretation of body language and influence of position and posture
  13. The skills, styles and methods of communicating significant news and how to deal with outcomes
  14. The importance of working within your own sphere of competence and seeking advice when faced with situations outside your sphere of competence

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. review the individual’s notes and all supporting information and consult with colleagues so that you clearly understand the individual’s current situation
  2. ensure that the individual and/or key person understand their right to choose and support them in making an informed choice, as appropriate
  3. ensure you have time to complete the communication session
  4. make the individual aware of the purpose of the communication session and the option of having another person present, including a translator/interpreter if required
  5. choose an appropriate environment which will ensure privacy and freedom from interruptions
  6. arrange the seating to support communication between yourself and the individual
  7. greet, accurately identify the individual and introduce yourself and any colleagues present to the individual and/or key person
  8. explore the individual’s perception and feelings about their current situation and their expectations for the future, encouraging them to tell their story
  9. use questions to assess what information the individual wants to know and whether or not they wish to be informed of significant news at this time
  10. inform the individual and/or key person openly and honestly of the current situation at an appropriate level and pace
  11. explain in language which the individual will understand the treatment and/or care options and answer questions honestly and accurately
  12. establish the degree of the individual’s and/or key person’s understanding of the imparted information using appropriate questioning techniques
  13. summarise the information using different words, phrases or expressions to assist the individual’s understanding
  14. provide opportunities for the individual and/or key person to ask questions and express their concerns and emotions
  15. discuss options with the individual and agree the next steps within an agreed time frame
  16. record the consultation and any agreed outcomes according to national and/or local policy and guidelines

Additional Information

This National Occupational Standard was developed by Skills for Health.

This workforce competence links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004):

Dimension: Core 1 Communication

This standard has replaced Diab_DA5 and PSL1
CHS48 Communicate significant news to individuals
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk