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Skills for communicating severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 result to patients and/or relatives

Oladele V. Adeniyi, Dominique K. Kayembe
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 2| a5221 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v63i1.5221 | © 2021 Oladele V. Adeniyi, Dominique K. Kayembe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 September 2020 | Published: 13 May 2021

About the author(s)

Oladele V. Adeniyi, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa; and, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, East London, South Africa
Dominique K. Kayembe, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa; and, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, East London, South Africa


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Abstract

Clinicians notify positive results of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 polymerase chain reaction to patients and/or relatives, whilst short message service (SMS) has been adopted as a means of disseminating negative results. Therefore, clinicians should be adequately equipped to provide telephonic consultation whilst delivering a positive test result to patients. The news of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test result often invokes fear of impending death in patients, especially the elderlies and those with comorbidities. In addition, several survivors have reported persistent symptoms and COVID-19-related stigma, which precludes them from immediate re-integration into their workplaces. Consequently, COVID-19 results are perceived as bad news by the members of the public. This article justifies why COVID-19 test results are bad news and also discusses the notification steps to follow when delivering COVID-19 results, whilst also addressing patients’ immediate concerns. The article concludes by highlighting an important safety net for COVID-19 patients and the attending clinician.

Keywords

bad news; COVID-19; notification; structured model; telephonic consultation

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