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Health Commun. 2017 Jun 16:1-9. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1331309. [Epub ahead of print]

Breaking Bad News in Veterinary Medicine.

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a School of Communication, Rochester Institute of Technology.
b Department of Communication , University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.


The patient-provider relationship in the context of veterinary medicine represents a unique opportunity for studying how bad news is communicated to pet owners by conducting structured interviews with veterinarians. A sample of 44 veterinarians' responses was recorded and content-analyzed in an effort to identify themes among providers in their clinical experience of breaking bad news (BBN). Two coders revealed several themes in the data that were organized by three overarching areas: (1) breaking bad news in general, (2) euthanasia, and (3) social support. The findings from interviews indicated the COMFORT model (Villagran, Goldsmith, Wittenberg-Lyles, & Baldwin, 2010) in medical education provided a useful framework to organize the communication of BBN in veterinary medicine. Results were discussed in relation to future research in patient-provider communication and COMFORT's potential value for training students in veterinarian education.

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