The explanation is a critical component of any consultation. In patients with chronic illness or disability and in those w ith terminal disease, il also forms the foundation for the development of the patieni-docior relationship. This will be required lo provide continuing support and comfort to patients and to their relatives, especially for those coming to terms wilh a bereavement.
• The explanation is the most important phase of the interview from me patient s perspective.
• Skilful communicating by doctors is vital. Effectiveness stems from a combination of personal attributes and training.
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