Patients' perception of communication with clinicians during screening and discussion of cancer supportive care needs

Patient Educ Couns. 2011 Dec;85(3):e209-15. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.12.006. Epub 2011 Jan 19.


Objective: Effective communication between patients and clinicians is an essential aspect of supportive care for cancer patients, however many patients find this communication is inadequate. This study examined cancer patients' perception of communication with their clinician during a supportive care screening and discussion process and the ways in which this process assisted communication.

Methods: One hundred and fifty-four patients undertaking treatment for cancer in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical units in six hospitals in Australia participated in a formal supportive care screening, discussion and referral process and were interviewed about their experiences.

Results: The majority of patients interviewed felt that the process enhanced communication by encouraging them to reflect on their needs, assisting them to initiate a discussion with the clinician, validating their needs, encouraging them to seek help and support and focusing clinician attention on unmet needs.

Conclusion: Patients perceived the formal process of supportive care improved communication between themselves and their clinicians.

Practice implications: Undertaking a patient-centred process of supportive care can assist clinicians to meet the unmet needs of patients with cancer and can increase patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Patient Care / standards*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires