Summary: Interprofessional patient-centred practice in oncology teams: utopia or reality?

By | 17th April 2015
Studies on interprofessional practice usually report professionals’ viewpoints and document organizational, procedural and relational factors influencing that practice. Considering the importance of interprofessional patient-centred (IPPC) practice, it seems necessary to describe it in detail in an actual context of care, from the perspective of patients, their families and health-care professionals. 

Karine Bilodeau, Sylvie Dubois and Jacinthe Pepin recently conducted a study to describe IPPC practice throughout the continuum of cancer care. A qualitative multiple case study was completed with two interprofessional teams from a Canadian teaching hospital. Interviews were conducted with patients, their families and professionals, and observation was carried out. 

Three themes were illustrated by current team practice: welcoming the person as a unique individual, but still requiring the patient to comply; the paradoxical coexistence of patient-centred discourse and professional-centred practice; and triggering team collaboration with the culmination of the patient’s situation. Several influential factors were described, including the way the team works; the physical environment; professionals’ and patients’/family members’ stance on the collaboration; professionals’ stance on patients and their families; and patients’ stance on professionals. 

Finally, themes describing the desired IPPC practice reflect the wish of most participants to be more involved. They were: providing support in line with the patient’s experience and involvement; respecting patients by not imposing professionals’ values and goals; and consistency and regularity in the collaboration of all members.

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