Core Modules

module 2 | Activity 5: The need for effective communication

The following expert opinions highlight the need for effective communication when discussing palliative care and end-of-life issues with people affected by life-limiting illness.

Dr Geoff Mitchell

Geoff Mitchell is Professor of General Practice and Palliative Care at the University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine, and head of the MBBS Program.  Professor Mitchell’s main research interest’s include the role of General Practitioners in palliative care. He was involved in the development of a Hospice and a regional palliative care network in Ipswich, Queensland, and was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education. In 2008, he authored a book entitled “Palliative care: a patient centered method”. He has co-authored clinical handbooks of Palliative Care entitled “The Blue Book of Palliative Care”, and “Therapeutics Guidelines: Palliative care”, and a national report into the palliative care education and support needs of GPs in palliative care.

Melissa Heywood

Melissa Heywood is a Clinical Nurse Consultant and Simulation Educator in the Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program at The Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne). Melissa has spoken extensively on communication principles and embedding them into practice through the use of simulation. Melissa is an integral member of the academic and teaching team for the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care.

  1. Watch the expert opinion videos and describe two key strategies for holding difficult conversations with a person affected by a life-limiting illness.  How well do the clinician suggestions match the communication strategies identified in this section?
  2. Compare and contrast the PREPARED and SPIKES communication frameworks and discuss where, when and how you could use each of the frameworks.