Older adults' preferred and perceived roles in decision-making about palliative chemotherapy, decision priorities and information preferences

Erin B. Moth, Belinda E. Kiely, Andrew Martin, Vasi Naganathan, Stephen Della-Fiorentina, Florian Honeyball, Rob Zielinski, Christopher Steer, Hiren Mandaliya, Abiramy Ragunathan, Prunella Blinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Patients with cancer have varied preferences for involvement in decision-making. We sought older adults' preferred and perceived roles in decision-making about palliative chemotherapy; priorities; and information received and desired.

Methods: Patients ≥65y who had made a decision about palliative chemotherapy with an oncologist completed a written questionnaire. Preferred and perceived decision-making roles were assessed by the Control Preferences Scale. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests evaluated associations with preferred role. Factors important in decision-making were rated and ranked, and receipt of, and desire for information was described.

Results: Characteristics of the 179 respondents: median age 74y, male (64%), having chemotherapy (83%), vulnerable (Vulnerable Elders Survey-13 score ≥ 3) (52%). Preferred decision-making roles (n = 173) were active in 39%, collaborative in 27%, and passive in 35%. Perceived decision-making roles (n = 172) were active in 42%, collaborative in 22%, and passive in 36% and matched the preferred role for 63% of patients. Associated with preference for an active role: being single/widowed (p = .004, OR = 1.49), having declined chemotherapy (p = .02, OR = 2.00). Ranked most important (n = 159) were "doing everything possible" (30%), "my doctor's recommendation" (26%), "my quality of life" (20%), and "living longer" (15%). A minority expected chemotherapy to cure their cancer (14%). Most had discussed expectations of cure (70%), side effects (88%) and benefits (82%) of chemotherapy. Fewer had received quantitative prognostic information (49%) than desired this information (67%).

Conclusion: Older adults exhibited a range of preferences for involvement in decision-making about palliative chemotherapy. Oncologists should seek patients' decision-making preferences, priorities, and information needs when discussing palliative chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-632
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes

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