Neurology clinicians' views on palliative care communication: "How do you frame this?"

Background

The communication process of preparing patients and families facing progressive neurodegenerative diseases for future illness has not been empirically elucidated; the goal of this qualitative study was to explore neurology interdisciplinary health professionals’ communication experiences, including current approaches, facilitators, and challenges.

Methods

Three focus groups were conducted with 22 clinicians representing a range of health professions from several multidisciplinary neurology outpatient clinics at a large academic medical center. A thematic analysis approach was used to develop a coding structure and identify overarching themes.

Results

Neurology clinicians highlighted that in their practice, (1) conversations are triggered by acute events and practical needs; (2) conversations occur routinely but are rarely documented; (3) loss of patient capacity and resultant surrogate decision-making can be ethically fraught, especially in times of family conflict; (4) prognostic uncertainty, unfamiliarity with disease trajectories, and patient or surrogate avoidance pose communication challenges; and (5) generalist- and specialty-level palliative care roles should be better defined.

Conclusions

There is a need for a systematic, structured approach to communication that can be applied early in the disease trajectory and considered when developing integrated neuro-palliative care programs.

Read article at journal's website

Related Articles

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *