Involvement of family members of older patients with cancer in triadic decision-making processes during medical consultations on an outpatient ward: an observational exploratory study using quantitative and qualitative methods

Bea L Dijkman, Marie Louise Luttik, Hanneke van der Wal-Huisman, Wolter Paans, Barbara L van Leeuwen

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INTRODUCTION: There is a growing interest in the involvement of family members of older patients with cancer in decision-making processes. The aim of this study is to identify how and to what extent family members, together with patients and physicians, are involved in triadic decision-making processes in clinical practice.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was conducted using an exploratory observational design. The Observer Patient Involvement Scale for patients with Multiple Chronicle Conditions (OPTION MCC) was used to assess the interaction in triadic decision-making between patients, family members, and physicians. Physicians' behaviour was scored on a Likert-scale ranging from 0 (not observed) to 4 (executed to a high standard), while the behaviour of patients and their family members was scored on a scale from 0 (no or minimum participation) to 2 (active participation). Atlas.ti software was used to facilitate coding, and the SPSS statistical analysis platform was used to explore correlations between the shared decision-making (SDM) skills of the physician and the participation of patients and their family members.

RESULTS: In total, ten physicians performed 25 consultations with older patients and 30 family members. Patients showed higher levels of participation in the SDM process than family members (OPTION MCC mean scores 0.96 vs 0.61). Physicians' SDM skills were observed at a low or moderate skill level (OPTION MCC mean score 1.81). Exploratory correlation analysis showed that higher physician scores were related to higher levels of both patients' and family members' involvement in the decision-making process. The level of family members' involvement in SDM varied from no involvement at all to active involvement. Qualitative analysis of family involvement revealed that relatives are likely to: emphasize patients' values and goals of care; inquire about different treatment options; assist in the deliberation process; and ask for clarification of the further medical process. Physicians showed responsive behaviour towards family members but seldom actively involved them in the SDM process.

DISCUSSION: The study findings suggest that there is a need to include strategies to facilitate family involvement in current SDM models for older patients with cancer. Healthcare professionals in geriatric oncology might benefit from additional training covering family dynamics and managing challenging situations.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer101699
TijdschriftJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Volume15
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
DOI's
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 12 jan. 2024

Keywords

  • familie
  • gezamenlijke besluitvorming
  • oncologie
  • ouderen
  • oudere patiënten met kanker

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