OBJECTIVE - • To evaluate the degree to which the partners of prostate cancer patients participate in the shared decision-making process with the patients' providers during the time between diagnosis and initiating treatment.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - • We recruited patients with newly diagnosed local-stage prostate cancer and their partners to complete take-home surveys after biopsy but before initiating treatment at urology practices in three states. • We asked partners to describe their roles in the decision-making process, including participation in clinic visits, and perceptions of encouragement from providers to participate in the treatment decision-making process. We also asked partners to rate their satisfaction with the patients' providers.
RESULTS - • Family members of 80% of newly diagnosed patients agreed to participate; most (93%) were partners (i.e. spouses or significant others). Most partners (93%) had direct contact with the patients' physicians. • Among the partners who had contact with providers, most (67%) were very satisfied with the patients' providers and 80% indicated that the doctor encouraged them to participate in the treatment decision. Overall, 91% of partners reported very frequent discussions with their loved one about the pending treatment decision, and 69% reported that their role was to help the patient make a decision. • In multivariate models, provider encouragement of partner participation was associated with higher partner satisfaction (odds ratio 3.4, 95% CI 1.4-8.4) and an increased likelihood of partners reporting very frequent discussions with their loved one (odds ratio 6.1, 95% CI 1.3-27.7).
CONCLUSIONS - • Partners often attended clinic visits and were very involved in discussions about treatment options with both loved ones and providers. • Provider encouragement of participation by partners greatly facilitates shared decision-making between patients and partners.
© 2011 THE AUTHORS. BJU INTERNATIONAL © 2011 BJU INTERNATIONAL.