Missed opportunity? Caregiver participation in the clinical encounter. A videographic analysis
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OBJECTIVE: Although the assistance of caregivers is critical to patients undertaking self-care, little is known about their participation in visits and involvement in decision making. We sought to examine this caregiver participation in shared decision making through videographic analysis. METHODS: We identified video recordings from outpatient visits in which a healthcare professional, patient, and caregiver participated, drawn from five practice-based randomized trials testing the efficacy of decision aids vs. usual care. Two reviewers, working independently, coded videos to explore caregiver engagement in the clinical encounter, clinician facilitation of that engagement, and the influence of decision aids in the engagement process. RESULTS: In most of the 37 videos coded, caregivers' participation was self-triggered. We saw no impact of the use of decision aids on caregiver participation. Clinicians did not address the caregivers' preferred level of involvement in decision making in any of the video recorded encounters analyzed. CONCLUSION: In this analysis, most clinicians did not engage caregivers in outpatient visits for chronic care. While the use of decision aids improves communication between patient and clinician, they do not appear to affect caregiver involvement during consultations. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Research on the comparative effectiveness of ways to engage caregivers to optimize patient-important outcomes, including enhancing the shared decision making process is necessary.
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