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Patient perceptions of helpful communication in the context of advanced cancer

Authors

  • Kelli I Stajduhar,

    1. Authors:Kelli I Stajduhar, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Victoria School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Sally E Thorne, PhD, RN, Professor & Director, University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Liza McGuinness, MA, Research Manager, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia; Charmaine Kim-Sing, MB, ChB, FRCPC, Clinical Associate Professor, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Sally E Thorne,

    1. Authors:Kelli I Stajduhar, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Victoria School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Sally E Thorne, PhD, RN, Professor & Director, University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Liza McGuinness, MA, Research Manager, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia; Charmaine Kim-Sing, MB, ChB, FRCPC, Clinical Associate Professor, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Liza McGuinness,

    1. Authors:Kelli I Stajduhar, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Victoria School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Sally E Thorne, PhD, RN, Professor & Director, University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Liza McGuinness, MA, Research Manager, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia; Charmaine Kim-Sing, MB, ChB, FRCPC, Clinical Associate Professor, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Charmaine Kim-Sing

    1. Authors:Kelli I Stajduhar, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of Victoria School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Sally E Thorne, PhD, RN, Professor & Director, University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia; Liza McGuinness, MA, Research Manager, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia; Charmaine Kim-Sing, MB, ChB, FRCPC, Clinical Associate Professor, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Kelli I Stajduhar, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Centre on Aging, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W 2Y2. Telephone: +250 721 7487.
E-mail:kis@uvic.ca

Abstract

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.

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