Family involvement in cancer treatment decision-making: a qualitative study of patient, family, and clinician attitudes and experiences

Rebekah Laidsaar-Powell*, Phyllis Butow, Stella Bu, Cathy Charles, Amiram Gafni, Alana Fisher, Ilona Juraskova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective
Little is known about how family are involved in cancer treatment decision-making. This study aimed to qualitatively explore Australian oncology clinicians’, patients’, and family members’ attitudes towards, and experiences of, family involvement in decision-making.

Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 cancer patients, 33 family members, 10 oncology nurses and 11 oncologists. Framework analysis methods were used.

Results
Three main themes were uncovered: (i) how family are involved in the decision-making process: specific behaviours of family across 5 (extended) decision-making stages; (ii) attitudes towards family involvement in the decision-making process: balancing patient authority with the rights of the family; and (iii) factors influencing family involvement: patient, family, cultural, relationship, and decision.

Conclusion
This study highlighted many specific behaviours of family throughout the decision-making process, the complex participant attitudes toward retaining patient authority whilst including the family, and insight into influencing factors. These findings will inform a conceptual framework describing family involvement in decision-making.

Practice implications
Clinicians could ascertain participant preferences and remain open to the varying forms of family involvement in decision-making. Given the important role of family in the decision-making process, family inclusive consultation strategies are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146–1155
Number of pages10
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume99
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • cancer
  • family caregivers
  • communication
  • decision-making
  • triadic
  • qualitative

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