Preference of cancer patients and family members regarding delivery of bad news and differences in clinical practice among medical staff
To study the preferences of cancer patients and their families in way of being informed of their condition and, by comparing their preferences with the medical staff’s clinical practices, explore the factors underlying the latter’s preferences.
A survey was conducted with 216 cancer patients, 242 families, and 176 clinical staff members with the Medical Status Communication questionnaire (Simplified Chinese edition).
The clinical staff scored lower than the cancer patients and their families in terms of the total score, way of communication, emotional support, and additional information (F = 16.134, p < .001; F = 28.604, p < .001; F = 13.839, p < .001; F = 16.745, p < .001). Factors underlying the medical staff’s clinical practices included, as revealed by the multiple linear regression analysis, gender (p = .03), and willingness to improve the way of communication about cancer (p = .006).
A gap existed between the medical staff’s clinical practice and the preferences of the cancer patients and their families. The medical staff should receive adequate training in cancer communication skills and techniques for improvement in this respect. When designing training for skills in delivering bad news to cancer patients, the well-being of cancer patients and their families must be thoroughly considered, and patient demands for information should be satisfied in the context of the information explosion of the current age.
KeywordsCancer Preference Truth telling
The authors would like to thank all participating patients, family members, and medical staff, and are grateful to Professor Woung-Ru Tang of the Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University, Taiwan, for providing the medical status communication questionnaire (Simplified Chinese edition).
Compliance with ethical standards
The study protocol was approved by the institutional review boards of the study hospitals (NFEC-201709-K15).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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