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How do you tell your loved ones about a life-threatening illness?

ANSWER

There's no one right way to tell your loved ones about your life-threatening illness. You can:

  • Tell one very trusted family member or friend and ask that person to spread the word among your loved ones
  • Meet with family members and friends individually to talk about your condition
  • Hold a "family meeting" to explain the news
  • Ask a doctor, nurse, or social worker to talk to your family or to be with you when you do

SOURCES:

Leisa Rebold, MSW, social worker, Capital Caring, Washington, D.C.

Sean Morrison, MD, director, National Palliative Care Research Center, New York.

Hermann Merkin, professor of Palliative Care, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on September 11, 2017

SOURCES:

Leisa Rebold, MSW, social worker, Capital Caring, Washington, D.C.

Sean Morrison, MD, director, National Palliative Care Research Center, New York.

Hermann Merkin, professor of Palliative Care, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on September 11, 2017

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What are things loved ones can do to help me with a life-threatening illness?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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