Sharing Decisions in Cancer Care Important but Difficult to Implement

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Medical specialists recognized the importance of sharing the decision-making process with patients but found it to be difficult to implement in practice, according to an article published online in the journal The Oncologist.

In this study, medical specialists were interviewed and a focus group was established. In the focus group, the investigators analyzed the specialists’ opinions regarding shared decision-making, patient involvement, and their applicability in the context of patients with glioblastoma.

Results showed health care professionals considered patient involvement in decision-making to be important; however, most did not follow through with its elements. Furthermore, specialists did not consider stopping treatment to be equal to continuing treatment.

The authors identified preferences of both patients and medical specialists for starting or continuing treatment and specialists’ assumptions of knowing the patients’ desires as being the major barriers to shared decision-making.

The study suggests training be made available for physicians in order to improve communication and patient involvement in the decision-making process, especially for patients with glioblastoma.

Patients from a patient decision aid trial reported increased knowledge and decision-making confiden
Medical specialists recognized the importance of sharing the decision-making process with patients but found it to be difficult to implement in practice.
Departments of Medical Humanities and Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, Expertise Center for Palliative Care, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands Correspondence: Janine C. De Snoo-Trimp, M.Sc. M.A., Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Telephone: 0031-20-444-8367; E-Mail: eol{at}vumc.nl Received March 12, 2015.
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