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Difficult conversations

It can be difficult to raise sensitive issues like terminal or life-limiting illness, caring responsibilities and dying.

They may make both you and your colleagues feel uncomfortable. However, once you have got over the initial awkwardness, you will probably both be relieved that you have had the conversation. It will also enable you to start making practical arrangements about how to manage at work, and what help and support you can expect.

It is unlikely that one conversation will be enough. Illness – your own or that of someone you are caring for – may not progress as expected. Your first plan for managing work may not turn out quite right. It is sensible to build in regular reviews so that your manager knows how things are going and what you may need to change.

You may find you are glad just to talk to someone who isn’t directly involved. After the first conversation, the next ones could be a way of helping you to cope as well as to plan.

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