Aims and objectives. Based on a secondary analysis of data from a large qualitative study on cancer care communication, we address the question: what do patients with advanced cancer identify as helpful in their communication encounters with health care providers?
Background. Communication is of critical importance to the care of patients with advanced cancer. A better understanding of what such patients identify as helpful in their communication encounters with nurses and other health care providers seems critical to creating evidence-informed recommendations for best practices.
Design. Secondary analysis of qualitative interview data.
Methods. Data from 18 participants interviewed individually and 16 focus group participants, with advanced cancer in the palliative phase of care. Interpretive description methodology informed data collection and analysis.
Results. Findings suggest four key elements are critically important to consider in communications with patients in an advanced or palliative phase – respecting the importance of time, demonstrating caring, acknowledging fear and balancing hope and honesty in the provision of information.
Conclusions. Communication is an important element in the provision of advanced cancer care.
Relevance to clinical practice. Findings emphasise the complex meanings inherent in cancer care communication and identify central themes that are fundamental to effective cancer care communication.