4.5.4 Communication with patients, carers and families

  1. Communication with the general practitioner

The general practitioner plays an important role in coordinating care for patients, including helping to manage side effects and other comorbidities, and offering support when patients have questions or worries. For most patients, simultaneous care provided by their general practitioner is very important.

The lead clinician, in discussion with the patient’s general practitioner, should consider these points:

  • the general practitioner’s role in symptom management, supportive care and referral to local services
  • using a chronic disease management plan and mental health care management plan
  • how to ensure regular and timely two-way communication about:
  • the treatment plan, including intent and potential side effects
  • information about potential interactions of medications, including what signs to watch out for and what to do if they occur
  • supportive and palliative care requirements
  • the patient’s prognosis and their understanding of this
  • enrolment in research or clinical trials
  • changes in treatment or medications
  • the presence of an advance care directive or appointment of a substitute decision-maker
  • recommendations from the multidisciplinary team.

More information

Refer to Principle 6 ‘Communication’ for communication skills training programs and resources.