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      Entertaining accurate treatment expectations while suffering from chronic pain: an exploration of treatment expectations and the relationship with patient- provider communication

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          Accurate patient expectations are important to optimise treatment success, especially for complex conditions such as chronic pain. Communication may be the key to managing patient expectations. This study aimed to explore whether health care provider communication influences patient expectations and which communication aspects are most important.


          We conducted secondary analyses on data that had been collected between September and November 2012. 2603 patients suffering from chronic pain were invited to complete a survey.


          Although 69.9% of patients achieved or surpassed their treatment goal, 30.2% of patients were unsatisfied. Even though overall health care provider communication and shared decision making were unrelated to patient expectations, several affective communication aspects were related. These aspects were attentive listening, taking enough time, building patient’s trust in the physician’s competence and giving patients the feeling that the physician is doing all he or she can ( p’s < 0.05).


          Even though treatment goals are not always explicitly discussed, patients still form expectations regarding treatment outcomes. Affective communication may be more important for managing patient expectations than sharing information. Building a good therapeutic relationship by showing affective communication may be important to increase the accuracy of patient expectations.

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          Most cited references 38

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          Patients' expectations about effects of chemotherapy for advanced cancer.

          Chemotherapy for metastatic lung or colorectal cancer can prolong life by weeks or months and may provide palliation, but it is not curative. We studied 1193 patients participating in the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance (CanCORS) study (a national, prospective, observational cohort study) who were alive 4 months after diagnosis and received chemotherapy for newly diagnosed metastatic (stage IV) lung or colorectal cancer. We sought to characterize the prevalence of the expectation that chemotherapy might be curative and to identify the clinical, sociodemographic, and health-system factors associated with this expectation. Data were obtained from a patient survey by professional interviewers in addition to a comprehensive review of medical records. Overall, 69% of patients with lung cancer and 81% of those with colorectal cancer did not report understanding that chemotherapy was not at all likely to cure their cancer. In multivariable logistic regression, the risk of reporting inaccurate beliefs about chemotherapy was higher among patients with colorectal cancer, as compared with those with lung cancer (odds ratio, 1.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29 to 2.37); among nonwhite and Hispanic patients, as compared with non-Hispanic white patients (odds ratio for Hispanic patients, 2.82; 95% CI, 1.51 to 5.27; odds ratio for black patients, 2.93; 95% CI, 1.80 to 4.78); and among patients who rated their communication with their physician very favorably, as compared with less favorably (odds ratio for highest third vs. lowest third, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.33 to 2.72). Educational level, functional status, and the patient's role in decision making were not associated with such inaccurate beliefs about chemotherapy. Many patients receiving chemotherapy for incurable cancers may not understand that chemotherapy is unlikely to be curative, which could compromise their ability to make informed treatment decisions that are consonant with their preferences. Physicians may be able to improve patients' understanding, but this may come at the cost of patients' satisfaction with them. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.).
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            Goal-oriented patient care--an alternative health outcomes paradigm.

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              Core outcome domains for chronic pain clinical trials: IMMPACT recommendations


                Author and article information

                0031 13 466 3795 , biancawiering@gmail.com
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                11 September 2018
                11 September 2018
                : 18
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0943 3265, GRID grid.12295.3d, Tranzo (Scientific Centre for Transformation in Care and Welfare), , Tilburg University, ; PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0681 4687, GRID grid.416005.6, NIVEL (Netherlands institute for health services research), ; Utrecht, the Netherlands
                [3 ]Pijn Platform Nederland, Leiden, the Netherlands
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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