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Palliative Care and Older People

Qualitative study of communication in an oncology outpatients department (Dr Lynn Furber)

This study investigated how doctors and patients diagnosed with advanced incurable cancer experienced the disclosure of bad news. The intention was to gain contrasting perspectives of the processes involved in oncology consultations. Participants were invited to describe how they experienced and felt about the disclosure of information over a period of time following a specific consultation. This research suggests that patients control what they do or do not do with information to meet their own needs and objectives, but doctors do not necessarily appreciate this. The results indicate that communication is not just about one person making decisions. They also indicate that in many cases more success could be gained from finding out how patients prefer to manage and control the exchange of bad news, at different points, through their care pathway.

Improving consultations in oncology: The development of a novel consultation aid (Dr Lynn Furber, Prof Anne Thomas, Dr Ged Murtagh, Dr Sheila Bonas)

We conducted a mixed methods study in a large UK Cancer Centre to develop a novel consultation aid that could be used jointly between patients and doctors. Key themes were generated to inform the design of the aid. A total of 16 doctors were recruited to the study with 77 patients. Detailed analysis from 36 consultations identified key themes (including preparation, information exchange, question asking and decision making) which were subsequently addressed in the design of the paper based aid. We plan to do further intervention work with the consultation aid before using it in clinical practice. The initial study has been reported in the BMJ online and BJC.

Research staff include:

Prof Jayne Brown (Group Lead)
Dr Lynn Furber
Martyn Geary

Research students include:

Kwado Korsah
Gertrude Shikura
Helena Dunbar
Cheryl Utrecht