Consultation etiquette in general practice: A qualitative study of what makes it different for lay cancer caregivers

Burridge, Letitia H., Mitchell, Geoffrey K., Jiwa, Moyez and Girgis, Afaf (2011) Consultation etiquette in general practice: A qualitative study of what makes it different for lay cancer caregivers. BMC Family Practice, 12 110-1-110-26. doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-110

Author Burridge, Letitia H.
Mitchell, Geoffrey K.
Jiwa, Moyez
Girgis, Afaf
Title Consultation etiquette in general practice: A qualitative study of what makes it different for lay cancer caregivers
Journal name BMC Family Practice   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2296
Publication date 2011-10-05
Year available 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1471-2296-12-110
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 12
Start page 110-1
End page 110-26
Total pages 26
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It is commonplace for lay caregivers to overlook their own health concerns when supporting someone with advanced cancer. During this time, caregivers' needs as patients are often marginalised by health professionals, including General Practitioners (GPs), who may miss the breadth of caregivers' needs by focusing on the practicalities of caregiving. GPs traditionally rely on patients to raise their concerns, and then respond to these concerns, but caregivers as patients may be disinclined to cue their GP. The norms of engagement when caregivers consult their GP are less defined, and how they interact with their GP regarding their own health is under-explored. This sub-study investigates the norms, assumptions and subtleties which govern caregiver-GP consultations, and explores factors affecting their interaction regarding caregivers' own health concerns.

We conducted semi-structured interviews with six lay caregivers and 19 health professionals in Brisbane, Australia, and analyzed the interview transcripts thematically.

Traditional norms of engagement are subjected to assumptions and expectations which caregivers and GPs bring to the consultation. Practice pressures also influence both parties' capacity and willingness to discuss caregivers' health. Nonetheless, some GPs monitor caregivers' health opportunistically. Their interaction is enhanced by the quality of the caregiver-GP relationship and by the GP's skills.

Caregivers are caught in a paradox whereby their health needs may become subsumed by the care recipient's needs in a setting where patient needs are normally scrutinised and supported. Caregivers may not raise their health concerns with their GP, who instead may need to cue them that it is timely and safe to do so. The routine use of a prompt may help to address caregivers' needs systematically, but it needs to be complemented by GPs' desire and capacity to engage with patients in a caregiving role. The potential difference GPs can make to the health of these patients is substantial.
Keyword Primary Health Care
Medicine, General & Internal
General & Internal Medicine
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID ID 511168
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 06 Oct 2011, 03:04:28 EST by Dr Letitia Burridge on behalf of Discipline of General Practice