Caregiver-provider communication after resection of pediatric brain tumors

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE Because caregivers are a crucial part of a child's medical care, it is important to understand how to best communicate with them during hospitalization. Qualitative research can elucidate the best strategies for effective parent- provider communication. This study aims to reveal communication styles of neurosurgery team members, and to identify areas for improvement in the future. METHODS Caregivers of children with a newly diagnosed brain tumor requiring neurosurgery were enrolled during their child's hospitalization. During routine follow-up clinic visits within 3 months after diagnosis and tumor resection, caregivers participated in a semistructured interview, which assessed the quality of communication with the neurosurgery and oncology teams during hospitalization. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for common themes until thematic saturation was reached. RESULTS During caregiver interviews (N = 22), several domains were discussed including communicating the diagnosis to the patient and siblings, to the rest of the family/support network, and with the neurosurgery team. Regarding parent- neurosurgeon communication, 82% of caregivers identified at least one positive aspect and 55% identified at least one negative aspect of communication. Caregivers who provided positive feedback appreciated that their neurosurgeon was thorough (73%), direct (27%), or compassionate (14%). They also valued when providers would speak "on my level" (18%) and would speak directly to the patient (27%). In terms of negative feedback, caregivers identified miscommunications (32%), discussing the diagnosis in front of the child before feeling prepared to do so (14%), and a lack of clarity about expectations, medications, or treatment (32%). CONCLUSIONS These data provide specific ways in which neurosurgery providers have communicated effectively with caregivers and identify areas for improvement. Results have been used to develop a navigator-led intervention geared toward improving parent-provider communication during hospitalization for resection of a brain tumor.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cutillo A; Zimmerman K; Davies S; Madan-Swain A; Landier W; Arynchyna A; Rocque BG
  • Start Page

  • 295
  • End Page

  • 301
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 3