1.2 Helping people understand their condition and the tests and treatments available


Find out what the person knows about their condition without assuming a level of knowledge. Provide them with the opportunity to discuss tests and treatment options in a private environment, with the support of family members or carers (as appropriate), and give them time to make an informed choice. [2011]


Ensure that a lung cancer clinical nurse specialist is available at all stages of care to support people and (as appropriate) their family members or carers. [2011]


Offer accurate and easy-to-understand information to people and their family members or carers (as appropriate). Explain the tests and treatment options, including potential survival benefits, side effects and effect on symptoms. [2011]


Consider tailor-made decision aids to help people to:

  • understand the probable outcomes of treatment options

  • think about the personal value they place on benefits versus harms of treatment options

  • feel supported in decision making

  • move through the steps towards making a decision

  • take part in decisions about their healthcare. [2011]


Offer people a record of all discussions that have taken place with them and a copy of any correspondence with other healthcare professionals. Ensure all communications are worded in such a way to assist understanding. [2011]


Respect the person's choice if they do not wish to confront future issues. [2011]


Avoid giving people unexpected bad news in writing. Only give unexpected bad news by phone in exceptional circumstances. [2011]


Offer to discuss end-of-life care with the person sensitively and when appropriate. Wherever possible, avoid leaving this discussion until the terminal stages of the illness. [2011]


Document discussions with the person about end-of-life care. In particular, document:

  • their specific concerns

  • their understanding of their illness and its prognosis

  • important values or personal goals for care

  • their preferences for the types of care or treatment that may be beneficial in the future and their availability. [2011]


Share information between healthcare professionals about:

  • any problems the person has

  • the management plan

  • what the person has been told

  • what the person has understood (if possible)

  • the involvement of other agencies

  • any advance decision made by the person. [2011]