You are here

  1. Home
  2. Provider Views on Integrating Family Caregivers in Clinical Encounters (RP413)

Provider Views on Integrating Family Caregivers in Clinical Encounters (RP413)

Objectives: • Critique, from the view of providers, the potential benefits and drawbacks of integrating family caregivers into clinical encounters. • Describe provider attitudes, beliefs and ethical and clinical considerations that may affect the integration of family caregivers into clinical encounters.  Importance: Family caregivers frequently accompany patients to clinical encounters, particularly when dealing with serious illnesses. Family caregivers, however, are not often invited to be active participants in clinical encounters. Little is known about provider perceptions on engaging caregivers in clinical encounters.  Objective(s): Our aim was to better understand providers' perceptions on engaging caregivers during clinical encounters.  Method(s): Twenty providers in primary, specialty, or palliative care from our institution in 3 distinct geographic areas of the United States (southeast, midwest, and southwest) were invited by email to participate in individual interviews (via telephone or in-person). Using a standard interview guide, providers were asked about their previous experiences with caregivers in clinical encounters and their views about integrating caregiver assessment into clinical encounters. Data were inductively analyzed using a thematic approach.  Results: We identified 3 themes among this sample of providers regarding: 1) the appropriate role of caregivers in the clinical encounter; 2) effectively managing the conversation when caregivers are involved; and, 3) the systemic barriers to caregiver integration. Providers chiefly view caregivers as sources of supplemental information or as absorbers or reinforcers of clinical instructions for care at home. Providers voiced concerns about the ethics of assessing caregiver capacity to provide assistance to the patent without having clinical authority to treat the caregiver or the adequate resources to provide help to the caregiver. Finally, providers identified structural barriers, including time constraints, for integrating caregivers into the clinical visit.  Conclusion(s): These findings provide insight into provider attitudes on the family caregivers' role in clinical encounters, a perspective that is essential for understanding opportunities and challenges for implementing caregiver interventions in clinical settings.  Impact: Further work is needed to identify the best strategies to overcome barriers to integrating caregivers in clinical encounters in order to improve the holistic care of patient-caregiver units.

Access source material through DOI

Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Journal of Pain & Symptom Management
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page