Clayman ML, Roter D, Wissow LS, Bandeen-Roche K. Autonomy-related behaviors of patient companions and their effect on decision-making activity in geriatric primary care visits. Soc Sci Med. 2005 Apr;60(7):1583-91.
(Companions, Geriatrics, United States)
The objective of this study, undertaken in the USA, was to investigate the consequences of autonomy-related companion behaviors on patient decision-making activity during geriatric primary care visits. Videotapes were analyzed to characterize patient and companion decision-making activity and related companion behaviors. These behaviors were coded throughout the visit using an autonomy-based framework that included both autonomy enhancing (i.e. facilitating patient understanding, patient involvement, and doctor understanding) and detracting behaviors, (i.e. controlling the patient and building alliances with the physician). Patients (N = 93) in this cross-sectional sample range in age from 65 to 95 years and are mostly white (n = 73, 79%) and female (n = 67, 72%). Companions are spouses (n = 42, 46%), adult children (n = 33, 36%), or other relatives and friends (n = 15, 16%) of patients. Companions are active participants in medical visits and engage in more autonomy enhancing than detracting behaviors. Companions of sicker (compared with less sick) patients were more likely to facilitate patient understanding, p < .05; doctor understanding, p < .01; and patient involvement, p = .06, in care. Patients whose companions facilitated their involvement in the medical visit by asking the patient questions, prompting the patient to talk, and asking for the patient's opinion were more than four times as likely to be active in decision-making as patients whose companions did not assist in this manner (unadjusted OR 3.5, CI 1.4-8.7, p < .01; adjusted OR 4.5, CI 1.6-12.4, p < .01). Companions can play an important role in the visits of geriatric patients by facilitating communication throughout the visit as well as patient activity in decision-making.
Ishikawa H, Hashimoto H, Roter DL, Yamazaki Y, Takayama T, Yano E. Patient contribution to the medical dialogue and perceived patient-centeredness. An observational study in Japanese geriatric consultations. J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Oct;20(10):906-10.
(Geriatrics, Companions, Japan)
BACKGROUND: Relatively few studies have directly addressed the interaction dynamics and consequences of a companion's presence in the medical visit, and their findings have been contradictory. OBJECTIVES: To examine how patient's contribution to the medical dialogue, with or without the presence of a visit companion, is related to the perception of the medical visit as patient-centered. DESIGN: Observational study using pre- and postvisit questionnaires and audiotape recording of medical visits. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and fifty-five patients aged 65 or over; 63 in medical visits that included the presence of a companion and 82 in visits that did not include a companion. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Patient ratings of visit patient-centeredness. RESULTS: Long visits (greater than 10 minutes long) and visits in which patients were verbally active were rated as more patient-centered by patients than other visits. Since patients were generally less verbally active in visits that included a companion, accompanied visits, especially if they were less than 10 minutes long, received lower patient-centered ratings than others. The presence of a companion was not related to length of the visit, suggesting that the verbal activity of the companion was off-set by decreased verbal activity of the patient. CONCLUSIONS: Our results have suggested that patients are more likely to perceive their physician and visit as patient-centered when they have an opportunity to engage directly in the medical dialogue. A minimal amount of "talk-time" for patients themselves should be safeguarded even in a short visit, when a companion is present.
Ishikawa H, Roter DL, Yamazaki Y, Hashimoto H, Yano E. Patients' perceptions of visit companions' helpfulness during Japanese geriatric medical visits. Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Apr;61(1):80-6.
(Geriatrics, Companions, Japan)
OBJECTIVE: Elderly patients are often accompanied during medical visits by a companion, usually a family member. This study explores the association between patients' expectations regarding the communication role of their companions, and the role intended and taken by companions during the medical visits, on patient perceptions of companion helpfulness. METHODS: Participants included 63 patients aged 65 or over who were under continuous care of nine attending physicians at a university-affiliated geriatric clinic in Tokyo, and their companions during the medical visit. These medical visits were audiotape recorded and coded using a Japanese translation of the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). RESULTS: The discrepancy between what patients expected of their companions, and what companions intended and actually did during the visit, predicted patient ratings of companion helpfulness. It was especially noteworthy that the highest ratings of companion helpfulness occurred when patients expected their companion to be actively involved in communication and they were. However, if the patient anticipated only a limited companion role, the companion was not viewed as very helpful regardless of the role they played. DISCUSSION: There would be a largely unexploited potential for improving communication effectiveness through the optimal engagement of companions in visit communication.
Ishikawa H, Roter DL, Yamazaki Y, Takayama T. Physician-elderly patient-companion communication and roles of companions in Japanese geriatric encounters. Soc Sci Med. 2005 May;60(10):2307-20.
(Geriatrics, Companions, Japan)
Although the triadic encounter of physician, patient, and an accompanying family member is a common phenomenon in geriatrics, previous research on the communication in medical encounters has primarily focused on dyadic interactions between physician and patient. This study aimed to explore the triadic communication and communication roles of patient companions in Japanese geriatric encounters. Among elderly patients aged 65 or over who were under continuous care of nine attending physicians at a university affiliated geriatric clinic in Tokyo, 63 accompanied patients and 82 unaccompanied patients were included for this study. The consultation was audiotape recorded and analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) with additional categories developed to code aspects of companion communication. In dyadic encounters, the average proportions of physician's talk and patient's talk were 54% and 46%, respectively, while in triadic encounters the average talk proportions of physician, patient, and companion were 49%, 29%, and 22%. Companions made a significant contribution to the communication during the visit by providing information and asking the physician questions, as well as facilitating patient's talk. The companion's communication may influence not only the patient's but also the physician's communication. The patient's expectation of the companion's role during the visit and the companion's intention regarding their role were generally related to one another, and had positive associations with the companion's actual behavior during the visit. Nevertheless, companions often anticipated playing a more direct communication role during the visit, including the provision of information and asking of questions, than patients expected of them. Further investigation is needed to explore the communication dynamics in triads and dyads, and its relation to patient outcomes.
Wittenberg-Lyles E, Oliver DP, Kruse RL, Demiris G, Gage LA, Wagner K. Family Caregiver Participation in Hospice Interdisciplinary Team Meetings: How Does It Affect the Nature and Content of Communication? Health Commun. 2012 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print]
(Palliative/Hospice, Companions/Caregivers, United States)
Collaboration between family caregivers and health care providers is necessary to ensure patient-centered care, especially for hospice patients. During hospice care, interdisciplinary team members meet biweekly to collaborate and develop holistic care plans that address the physical, spiritual, psychological, and social needs of patients and families. The purpose of this study was to explore team communication when video-conferencing is used to facilitate the family caregiver's participation in a hospice team meeting. Video-recorded team meetings with and without family caregiver participation were analyzed for communication patterns using the Roter Interaction Analysis System. Standard meetings that did not include caregivers were shorter in duration and task-focused, with little participation from social workers and chaplains. Meetings that included caregivers revealed an emphasis on biomedical education and relationship-building between participants, little psychosocial counseling, and increased socioemotional talk from social workers and chaplains. Implications for family participation in hospice team meetings are highlighted.
Wolff JL, Roter DL. Older adults' mental health function and patient-centered care: does the presence of a family companion help or hinder communication? J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Jun;27(6):661-8. Epub 2011 Dec 17.
(Companions/Caregivers, Mental Health, United States)
BACKGROUND: Late-life mental health disorders are prevalent, costly, and commonly under-diagnosed and under-treated. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether family companion presence in routine primary care visits helps or hinders patient-centered processes among older adults with poor mental health function. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Observational study of accompanied (n = 80) and unaccompanied (n = 310) primary care patients ages 65 and older. MAIN MEASURES: Audio-taped medical visit communication, coded with the Roter Interactional Analysis System, and three process measures: visit duration (in minutes), patient/companion verbal activity, and a ratio of patient-centered communication, adjusted for patient age, gender, race, and physical function. Participants were stratified by SF-36 mental health subscale (MCS) using two approaches (1) standardized population midpoint to delineate "good" (50+) and "poor" health ( < 50) and (2) clinically derived cut-points ( < 35; 35-49; 50+). RESULTS: When patients with poor mental health were accompanied by a family companion, patient/companions provided less psychosocial information, physicians engaged in less question-asking and partnership-building, and both patient/companions and physicians contributed more task-oriented, biomedical discussion. Accompanied patients with poor mental health were less likely to experience patient-centered communication relative to unaccompanied patients (aOR = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.68); no difference was observed for patients with good mental health (aOR = 1.02; 95% CI: 0.46, 2.27). Verbal activity was comparable for accompanied patients/companions and unaccompanied patients in both mental health strata. Medical visits were 2.3 minutes longer when patients with good mental health were accompanied (b = 2.31; p = 0.006), but was comparable for patients with poor mental health (b = -0.37; p = 0.827). Study findings were amplified in the lowest functioning mental health subgroup (MCS < 35): medical visits were shorter, and communication was least patient-centered (p = 0.019) when these patients were accompanied. CONCLUSIONS: Older adults with poor mental health function may experience more communication challenges in the form of shorter visits and less patient-centered communication when a family companion is present.
Wolff JL, Roter DL. Family presence in routine medical visits: a meta-analytical review. Soc Sci Med. 2011 Mar;72(6):823-31. Epub 2011 Feb 24.
(Companions/Caregivers, Primary Care, United States)
Older adults are commonly accompanied to routine physician visits, primarily by adult children and spouses. This is the first review of studies investigating the dynamics and consequences of patient accompaniment. Two types of evidence were examined: (1) observational studies of audio and/or videotaped medical visits, and (2) surveys of patients, families, or health care providers that ascertained experiences, expectations, and preferences for family companion presence and behaviors in routine medical visits. Meta-analytic techniques were used to summarize the evidence describing attributes of unaccompanied and accompanied patients and their companions, medical visit processes, and patient outcomes. The weighted mean rate of patient accompaniment to routine adult medical visits was 37.6% in 13 contributing studies. Accompanied patients were significantly older and more likely to be female, less educated, and in worse physical and mental health than unaccompanied patients. Companions were on average 63 years of age, predominantly female (79.4%), and spouses (54.7%) or adult children (32.2%) of patients. Accompanied patient visits were significantly longer, but verbal contribution to medical dialog was comparable when accompanied patients and their family companion were compared with unaccompanied patients. When a companion was present, health care providers engaged in more biomedical information giving. Given the diversity of outcomes, pooled estimates could not be calculated: of 5 contributing studies 0 were unfavorable, 3 inconclusive, and 2 favorable for accompanied relative to unaccompanied patients. Study findings suggest potential practical benefits from more systematic recognition and integration of companions in health care delivery processes. We propose a conceptual framework to relate family companion presence and behaviors during physician visits to the quality of interpersonal health care processes, patient self management and health care.
Zaleta AK, Carpenter BD. Patient-centered communication during the disclosure of a dementia diagnosis. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2010 Sep;25(6):513-20. Epub 2010 Jun 17.
(Bad News Delivery, Companions/Caregivers, United States)
This study examined physician use of patient-centered communication during disclosure of a dementia diagnosis. Fifty-four patients (mean age = 74.13) and companions (mean age = 65.67; n = 34 spouses/partners, 12 adult children, 8 other) were diagnosed with very mild (n = 36) or mild (n = 18) dementia at an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. Audio recordings of these triadic encounters were evaluated with the Roter Interaction Analysis System. Physicians utilized moderate but variable amounts of patient-centered behaviors including positive rapport building, facilitation, and patient activation (P < .001). Physicians far less frequently used emotional rapport building (P < 0.001). Physicians who demonstrated more patient-centered communication also exhibited greater positive affect (P < 0.05). The use of patient-centered behaviors and positive affect was more variable between physicians than within physicians and may be more dependent on individual physician characteristics than dementia severity or age and gender of patients and companions.
Resources by Subject Area
Following are abstracts of RIAS studies through 2012, listed by subject area. Click on the subject name below to go directly to that section.
Bad News Delivery
Outside Primary Care