Objective: The objective of this study was to provide insight into how advanced cancer patients and their caregivers use a Question Prompt List (QPL) during a consultation and for preparation for future consultations.
Methods: Audiotaped consultations and follow-up phone calls of 28 advanced cancer patients were coded and content analyzed. Questions asked and concerns expressed in consultations were coded for initiator, content, inclusion in the QPL and exact wording. Patients’ reported and future use of the QPL were coded from the phone calls.
Results: The majority of patients reported that they used the QPL. Questions asked by patients and caregivers predominately coincided with questions from the prognosis section of the QPL. Questions were rarely asked literally from the QPL, instead questions were tailored to patients’ own circumstances.
Conclusion: QPLs are useful to stimulate discussion on prognosis among advanced cancer patients and caregivers. Patients tailored questions from the QPL to their own circumstances which may suggest high involvement and engagement. The development of more specific tailored communication interventions for advanced cancer patients is warranted.
Practice implications: Implementation of QPLs in the advanced cancer setting may be beneficial for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers to facilitate discussion of topics such as prognosis.
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