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How to say sorry to patients and their families

Apologising when things go wrong is part of compassionate care – but you have to get it right
Apologising when things go wrong is part of providing compassionate patient care

Apologising when things go wrong is part of compassionate care – but you have to get it right

Done well, an apology can be healing; on the one side there is accountability and on the other there may be forgiveness.

Being able to make a sincere, empathetic apology to a patient or their family is an important part of compassionate care.

A compassionate apology is not just about admitting mistakes

Apologising when things go wrong should be straightforward but, in reality, it is complex and fraught with difficulties.

The London Fire Brigade’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire has prompted a great deal of critical comment, not just because of mistakes that may have been made on the night of the disaster, but because of statements made since by the service’s chief. Despite apologising, she has been accused

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