How to have effective conversations with distressed or upset families


Relatives can be extremely upset after the diagnosis of stroke.

  • This may come across as anger or aggression towards staff
  • Some relatives may become withdrawn, tearful, and avoid speaking to staff, or may even avoid visiting the hospital. If a family member has not been asking for information or avoiding the hospital-it is worth exploring why this is the case and being proactive in trying to make contact

Families and patients generally expect and have a right –

  • to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect
  • to be kept informed about what is happening
  • for the staff to be friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and accessible

For staff, dealing with distress and ensuring that families are kept informed can be very difficult.

Page last reviewed: 16 Apr 2020