Family involvement in cancer treatment decision-making: A qualitative study of patient, family, and clinician attitudes and experiences Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVE: Little is known about how family are involved in cancer treatment decision-making. This study aimed to qualitatively explore Australian oncology clinicians', patients', and family members' attitudes towards, and experiences of, family involvement in decision-making. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 cancer patients, 33 family members, 10 oncology nurses and 11 oncologists. Framework analysis methods were used. RESULTS: Three main themes were uncovered: (i) how family are involved in the decision-making process: specific behaviours of family across 5 (extended) decision-making stages; (ii) attitudes towards family involvement in the decision-making process: balancing patient authority with the rights of the family; and (iii) factors influencing family involvement: patient, family, cultural, relationship, and decision. CONCLUSION: This study highlighted many specific behaviours of family throughout the decision-making process, the complex participant attitudes toward retaining patient authority whilst including the family, and insight into influencing factors. These findings will inform a conceptual framework describing family involvement in decision-making. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Clinicians could ascertain participant preferences and remain open to the varying forms of family involvement in decision-making. Given the important role of family in the decision-making process, family inclusive consultation strategies are needed.


  • Laidsaar-Powell, Rebekah
  • Butow, Phyllis
  • Bu, Stella
  • Charles, Cathy
  • Gafni, Amiram Jacob
  • Fisher, Alana
  • Juraskova, Ilona

publication date

  • July 2016

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