Communication about palliative care in multidisciplinary teams in oncology settings

Melissa Horlait, Simon Van Belle, Marcus Leys

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished abstract


Background: In Belgium multidisciplinary care is mandatory in oncology. The issue of adequate communication in the stage where the patient has to be told that the cancer is incurable is not that well studied yet. Cancer care can be complex, and given the different backgrounds of the professionals involved, an enormous risk for poor coordination and miscommunication exists. This problem is to be better understood since evidence is available that effective and supportive communication can assist patients and their peers in navigating a successful transition to palliative care.
Aims: This contribution addresses how communication training intervention programs could support the coordination of communication within the care teams. These trainings are considered as supportive tools for integrating multidisciplinary cancer care
Methods: We conducted open, face-to-face interviews with 15 certified medical oncologists in Flanders and 9 oncology trainees. Interview transcripts were inductively analysed to trace experiences with communication training and tracking down their needs for support.
Results: Experienced and trainee oncologists do currently not have communication support to deal with incurable oncology patients . Very little reflections are currently made on how communication competencies could be supported.
Discussion: medical education and training could be improved for adequate communication skills in multidisciplinary teams in oncology, by adapting the theoretical as well as competency development taking into account the organisation and needs of multidisciplinary teams.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2016
EventVUB PhD Research Day 2016 - VUB, Etterbeek, Belgium
Duration: 27 May 201627 May 2016


ConferenceVUB PhD Research Day 2016
Internet address

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