Communication training to achieve shared treatment decisions

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Many decisions in oncology and palliative care involve difficult choices about a range of potential benefits alongside burdens. As the ethos of care provision shifts from a paternalistic model to a climate where patient autonomy is greatly respected, the actual process of communication to achieve treatment decisions comes more to the fore. This chapter focuses on the pragmatics of communication skills training to achieve the goal of a shared treatment decision. A patient-centred approach to care provision is central as a theoretical underpinning to this model. Based on a twoway exchange of information and identification of preferences about the treatments involved, a model based on shared treatment decisions respects the investment of both parties in the treatment choice and works towards the achievement of consensus. This chapter illustrates a method of communication skills training that makes explicit what is taught and explains how role play can be helpful in such training exercises.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
EditorsDavid Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, Ilora Finlay
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780191730290
ISBN (Print)9780199238361
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication skills
  • Oncology
  • Palliative care
  • Patient-centred approach
  • Role play
  • Shared treatment decisions
  • Training

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