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Multiprofessional Views on Older Patients’ Participation in Care Planning Meetings in a Hospital Context
2013-04-10, Donnelly, Sarah, Carter-Anand, Janet, Cahill, Suzanne, et al.
Care planning meetings (CPMs; sometimes referred to as family meetings) for older patients involve group decision-making between the multidisciplinary team, the older person and their family. However, service user participation is challenged by the inequity of knowledge and power between participants, together with organisational and resource pressures for timely discharge. The effective use and perhaps, potential misuse of communication strategies within CPMs is of ethical concern to all participants. Habermas' essential critique of participatory communication provides insight as to how older people's involvement can be either enabled or blocked by healthcare professionals (HCPs) depending on their use of communication strategies. Seven discipline specific mini-focus groups provided an opportunity for HCPs to reflect on the participation of patients over 65 and their families in CPMs. Findings explore HCPs' understanding of older patients involvement based on key dimensions of communicative participation, namely, mutuality, inclusiveness, patient centredness and clear outcomes. Whilst the benefits of collaborative decision-making were confirmed, legitimate concerns as to the quality of participatory practices, limited attention to group work processes and the exclusion of older patients with cognitive impairment were identified.