Oral Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2017

Facilitating effective family involvement in cancer care: Clinical practice guidelines and online clinician training (#37)

Ilona Juraskova 1
  1. Centre for Medical Psychology and Evidence-based Decision-making (CeMPED), The School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW , Australia

Family caregivers are integral to cancer care, yet they often report feeling disempowered, excluded, and ill-equipped to support patients. Effective clinician-patient-family (triadic) communication is needed to guide and support family caregivers in providing quality home-based care and patient support, which in turn leads to better patient quality-of-life and longer survival. When not managed effectively, family caregivers’ involvement can derail the consultation, impede informed decision-making, and may compromise patient autonomy. Clinicians value family involvement, however they find many aspects of triadic consultations challenging, and want practical strategies to navigate these complex interactions. To address this need, our team completed a 6-year long research program, culminating in the world-first evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for oncologists and nurses, to help clinicians effectively and positively communicate with, and support, family caregivers. In this talk, key selected strategies for managing complex family interactions in cancer consultations will be outlined, and illustrated by nurse training videos targeting family conflict, family dominance, and conflicting treatment wishes. The development of online training for clinicians incorporating these triadic resources will be also discussed.  By providing clinicians with relevant tools to facilitate 'family-centred' care, these guidelines and interventions have the potential to shift the status of family caregivers from an underserved, vulnerable, and disempowered population to being confident, engaged, and supported partners in the cancer care process.