Medline ® Abstracts for References 7-10
of 'Discussing goals of care'
Assessing the effects of physician-patient interactions on the outcomes of chronic disease.
Kaplan SH, Greenfield S, Ware JE Jr
Med Care. 1989 Mar;27(3 Suppl):S110-27.
Growing interest in the doctor-patient relationship focuses attention on the specific elements of that relationship that affect patients' health outcomes. Data are presented for four clinical trials conducted in varied practice settings among chronically ill patients differing markedly in sociodemographic characteristics. These trials demonstrated that "better health" measured physiologically (blood pressure or blood sugar), behaviorally (functional status), or more subjectively (evaluations of overall health status) was consistently related to specific aspects of physician-patient communication. We conclude that the physician-patient relationship may be an important influence on patients' health outcomes and must be taken into account in light of current changes in the health care delivery system that may place this relationship at risk.
Institute for the Improvement of Medical Care and Health, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111.
Improving physicians' interviewing skills and reducing patients' emotional distress. A randomized clinical trial.
Roter DL, Hall JA, Kern DE, Barker LR, Cole KA, Roca RP
Arch Intern Med. 1995 Sep;155(17):1877-84.
BACKGROUND: Despite high prevalence, emotional distress among primary care patients often goes unrecognized during routine medical encounters.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the effect of communication-skills training on the process and outcome of care associated with patients' emotional distress.
METHODS: A randomized, controlled field trial was conducted with 69 primary care physicians and 648 of their patients. Physicians were randomized to a no-training control group or one of two communication-skills training courses designed to help physicians address patients' emotional distress. The two training courses addressed communication through problem-defining skills or emotion-handling skills. All office visits of study physicians were audiotaped until five emotionally distressed and five nondistressed patients were enrolled based on patient response to the General Health Questionnaire. Physicians were also audiotaped interviewing a simulated patient to evaluate clinical proficiency. Telephone monitoring of distressed patients for utilization of medical services and General Health Questionnaire scores was conducted 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after their audiotaped office visits.
RESULTS: Audiotape analysis of actual and simulated patients showed that trained physicians used significantly more problem-defining and emotion-handling skills than did untrained physicians, without increasing the length of the visit. Trained physicians also reported more psychosocial problems, engaged in more strategies for managing emotional problems with actual patients, and scored higher in clinical proficiency with simulated patients. Patients of trained physicians reported reduction in emotional distress for as long as 6 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Important changes in physicians' communication skills were evident after an 8-hour program. The training improved the process and outcome of care without lengthening the visits.
Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md, USA.
The relationship of physician medical interview style to patient satisfaction.
Bertakis KD, Roter D, Putnam SM
J Fam Pract. 1991 Feb;32(2):175-81.
The results of previous studies on the relationship between patient satisfaction and specific interviewing behaviors have been difficult to generalize because most studies have examined small samples of patients at one clinical location, and have used initial or acute care visits where the patient and physician did not have an established relationship. The present collaborative study of medical interviewing provided an opportunity to collect interviews from 550 return visits to 127 different physicians at 11 sites across the country. Tape recordings were analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System, and postvisit satisfaction questionnaires were administered to patients. A number of significant relationships were found between communication during the visit and the various dimensions of patient satisfaction. Physician question asking about biomedical topics (both open- and closed-ended questions) was negatively related to patient satisfaction; however, physician question asking about psychosocial topics was positively related. Physician counseling for psychosocial issues was also positively related to patient satisfaction. Similarly, patient talk about biomedical topics was negatively related to satisfaction, while patient talk regarding psychosocial topics was positively related. Furthermore, patients were less satisfied when physicians dominated the interview by talking more or when the emotional tone was characterized by physiciandominance. The findings suggest that patients are most satisfied by interviews that encourage them to talk about psychosocial issues in an atmosphere that is characterized by the absence of physician domination.
Department of Family Practice, University of California, Davis, Sacramento 95817.
Associations between end-of-life discussions, patient mental health, medical care near death, and caregiver bereavement adjustment.
Wright AA, Zhang B, Ray A, Mack JW, Trice E, Balboni T, Mitchell SL, Jackson VA, Block SD, Maciejewski PK, Prigerson HG
CONTEXT: Talking about death can be difficult. Without evidence that end-of-life discussions improve patient outcomes, physicians must balance their desire to honor patient autonomy against a concern of inflicting psychological harm.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether end-of-life discussions with physicians are associated with fewer aggressive interventions.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A US multisite, prospective, longitudinal cohort study of patients with advanced cancer and their informal caregivers (n = 332 dyads), September 2002-February 2008. Patients were followed up from enrollment to death, a median of 4.4 months later. Bereaved caregivers' psychiatric illness and quality of life was assessed a median of 6.5 months later.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Aggressive medical care (eg, ventilation, resuscitation) and hospice in the final week of life. Secondary outcomes included patients' mental health and caregivers' bereavement adjustment.
RESULTS: One hundred twenty-three of 332 (37.0%) patients reported having end-of-life discussions before baseline. Such discussions were not associated with higher rates of major depressive disorder (8.3% vs 5.8%; adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-3.32), or more worry (mean McGill score, 6.5 vs 7.0; P = .19). After propensity-score weighted adjustment, end-of-life discussions were associated with lower rates of ventilation (1.6% vs 11.0%; adjusted OR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.08-0.83), resuscitation (0.8% vs 6.7%; adjusted OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-0.80), ICU admission (4.1% vs 12.4%; adjusted OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.14-0.90), and earlier hospice enrollment (65.6% vs 44.5%; adjusted OR, 1.65;95% CI, 1.04-2.63). In adjusted analyses, more aggressive medical care was associated with worse patient quality of life (6.4 vs 4.6; F = 3.61, P = .01) and higher risk of major depressive disorder in bereaved caregivers (adjusted OR, 3.37; 95% CI, 1.12-10.13), whereas longer hospice stays were associated with better patient quality of life (mean score, 5.6 vs 6.9; F = 3.70, P = .01). Better patient quality of life was associated with better caregiver quality of life at follow-up (beta = .20; P = .001).
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life discussions are associated with less aggressive medical care near death and earlier hospice referrals. Aggressive care is associated with worse patient quality of life and worse bereavement adjustment.
Department of Medical Oncology and Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 550 Shields Warren, 44 Binney St, Boston, MA 02115, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org