Risk communication in neurology services (NIHR)

Research for Patient Benefit : NIHR grant

 This project is in partnership with Exeter University.

This is an 18-month NIHR funded project to explore how to improve communication about risk between people with epilepsy attending NHS clinics, and clinicians.  The project applies conversation analysis, a specialist method of revealing how communication works, to explore how different phrases affect how information is received and communicated. 

the need

People with epilepsy, their families, and families that have suffered bereavement through epilepsy, as well as charities and some clinicians, are concerned that communication about risks for people with epilepsy, including to life, are not always clearly discussed.  Other approaches to this problem have included the development of a checklist, but people still report sometimes not having heard that there were risks, even though clinicians report telling them. 

Our response

This study provides us with an opportunity to identify the optimum method of communication, and has the potential to save lives.  We are observing communications directly, and reflections on them by people with epilepsy and clinicians, to take apart how people talk to each other and identify which phrases can be most effective.

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