What Should the Surgeons Do at the Family Meeting: A Multi-Disciplinary Qualitative Description of Surgeon Participation in Palliative Care Discussions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: National guidelines have suggested that quality surgical care should incorporate effective palliative care (PC). Numerous barriers to surgeon participation remain and the domains of optimal surgeon participation are unclear. Design: Eight semi-structured and multi-professional focus groups with 34 total participants. Discussion was transcribed, and qualitative approaches were used to encode, identify, and categorize emergent themes. Setting: Oregon Health & Science University, Portland Oregon. A tertiary care teaching hospital. Participants: 34 multi-disciplinary participants in eight focus groups, identified on a volunteer basis. Results: Key themes defining domains of optimal surgeon/palliative practice include: (1) “primary/secondary PC” which detailed conflict between the surgeon's desire to be part of palliative discussions and competing clinical/time demands. (2) “role/responsibility” described the tension surgeons feel around a desire to provide honest and goal concordant care (3) “teamwork/conflict” detailed the approach to disagreement among multidisciplinary teams. Conclusions: In this qualitative analysis, emergent themes suggest that surgeons want to be involved in the PC of their patients but are limited by available time and competing for ethical obligations. Tension between competing communication and care obligations and PC goals is common, and discord around patient goals remains an issue. This work highlights the need for a standardized curriculum to improve the PC of surgical patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Advanced Care Planning
  • Interprofessional collaboration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Education

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