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Why patients withhold facts – and what nurses can do about it

Omissions of truth or white lies may be a patient’s way to avoid judgement, but can jeopardise care. Find out how to improve communication and help patients open up

Omissions of truth or white lies may be a patient’s way to avoid judgement, but can jeopardise care. Find out how to improve communication and help patients open up

  • Many patients avoid disclosing medically relevant facts to health professionals, despite the adverse effects this could have on their care
  • Reasons for obscuring the truth could be a fear of being judged or feeling of shame, and an understanding of body language could help nurses detect when patients are withholding information
  • Tips on putting patients at ease to help them open up and feel safe to disclose pertinent facts

Research suggests that most patients have withheld medically relevant information from healthcare professionals, including nurses.

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