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Communication in Families Related to Health and Illness

  • By: Linda G. Bell
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Families play a significant role in a patient's response to illness and in the process of both physical and emotional healing. Communication within families and between the family and health care professionals can greatly affect health outcomes, both for the patient and for the family as a whole. Often during the course of an illness, the family is confronted with changes in the patient's condition that warrant decision making, negotiation of caregiving tasks, and changes in the day-to-day function and communications within the family. Families may experience stress in multiple relationships, affecting the quality of patient care. As during other times of crisis, difficult family systems patterns, perhaps going back generations, can resurface. Unresolved loss issues may become salient. The good news is that ...

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