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Communication with terminal cancer patients in palliative care: are there differences between nurses and physicians?
Supportive Care in Cancer
The aim of this study was to find whether there were interprofessional differences in specific elements of communication with terminal cancer patients and decision-making processes that concern such patients. Given that interdisciplinary team work is one of the basic values in palliative care, if there are conflicting views between professions on such important issues it is most important to know about these and to understand them. A questionnaire utilized in an earlier survey of palliative care physicians and addressing their attitudes to and beliefs about specific elements of communication and decision making was sent to a sample of palliative care nurses working in the same regions, i.e. the French-speaking parts of Switzerland, Belgium and France. After a second mailing (reminder), 135 of the 163 questionnaires (83%) were returned. There was general agreement between nurses and physicians on questions dealing with perceptions of patients' knowledge of their diagnosis and stage of disease, patients' need for information, "do not resuscitate" orders and ethical principles in decision-making processes. Statistically significant, but small, differences between professional groups were only observed for a minority of the questions. Interprofessional differences in specific elements of communication with terminal cancer patients and decision-making processes affecting these patients were not so marked that they could be called "conflicting interprofessional views."
Adult, Attitude of Health Personnel, Belgium, Chi-Square Distribution, Communication, Decision Making, Female, France, Humans, Interprofessional Relations, Male, Middle Aged, Nurses, Palliative Care, Physicians, Questionnaires, Resuscitation Orders, Statistics, Nonparametric, Switzerland, Terminal Care, Terminally Ill
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