While the majority of ‘shared decision making’ research has focused on the relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient making the decision, very little attention has been paid to the role of partners and/or family members in clinical encounters in which treatment decisions are made or discussed. Existing studies indicate that partners are often involved in treatment decisions, both within clinical consultations, and outside of health care settings through discussions and provision of emotional and practical support to patients. Where there are multiple treatment options patients can be faced with treatment decisions that involve trade-offs between differing risks and benefits of options. For men with prostate cancer, partner involvement may shape preference-orientations to treatment decisions in relation to avoidance of side-effects (for example, altered sexual function or incontinence) versus longevity, as an outcome priority. At present however, these processes remain poorly understood as an aspect of treatment decision-making.
Methods: Secondary analysis of audio-recordings of clinical consultations and matched interviews with 60-80 prostate cancer patients and their partners/significant others, as part of a study investigating decision support for men with localised prostate cancer. The PhD would involve interactional and language-based analyses (for example, conversation analysis) to explore the implications of partner involvement in consultations and treatment decision making, as a basis for the development of clinical communication training for clinicians.
For further details regarding this project, please the Pathway Coordinator for this project [email protected]
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