Communication patterns between patients and caregivers in a palliative care unit

M. Rufino Castro, T. Blasco Blasco, A. Ramos Fernández, E. Gúell Pérez, A. Pascual López

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objective: the aim of this study was to describe patterns of communication between patients and their caregivers in a palliative care unit. Method: thirty-two patients were assessed at the palliative care unit in Hospital de la Santa Creu I Sant Pau, Barcelona, using a structured interview. The following features were registered: whether the patient maintained communication with his/her caregiver; whether the patient told the caregiver his/her main concern, and whether the patient was satisfied with this communication. Using the same structured interview 25 caregivers of these patients (one per patient) were also assessed. Results: the proportion of patients who maintained communication and were satisfied was higher than that of caregivers (78 and 75% vs. 68 and 56%, respectively). The proportion of patients who told their caregiver his/her main concern was also higher, although the proportion was lower (53% of patients vs. 34% of caregivers). Patients who maintained communication were younger than patients who did not (63.56 vs. 75.57 years), but this was not the case for caregivers. Caregivers were most prone to communicate when time from diagnosis was longer. Conclusions: patients and caregivers had different patterns of communication. Patients are more prone to establish communication than caregivers, and this communication is easier when patient age is younger and when time from diagnosis is longer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-150
JournalMedicina Paliativa
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Caregivers
  • Communication processes
  • Oncological patients
  • Palliative care unit


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