Patients want physicians to ascertain their wishes related to resuscitation, yet such discussions of "code status" are often delayed in the hospital setting, which compromises patient autonomy. Few studies have examined family physicians' views on this topic. Our objectives were to explore the experiences of family physicians and family practice residents in establishing code status with their patients who had been admitted to hospital and to identify barriers to these discussions.
Semistructured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 5 family physicians and 5 family practice residents admitting patients to a family practice teaching ward in a university-affiliated urban tertiary care hospital. Interview transcripts were analysed inductively, and grounded theory was used to identify conceptual categories and recurring themes. Key findings were validated by means of member checking with participants, consensus meetings of the research team and consultation with qualitative researchers.
Barriers to code-status discussions included personal discomfort with confronting mortality, fear of damaging the doctor-patient relationship or harming the patient by raising the topic of death, limited time to establish trust, and difficulty in managing complex family dynamics. In spite of these challenges, family physicians and residents viewed discussions of resuscitation as a significant part of their role.
Family physicians and residents need to develop personal awareness about difficulties in confronting mortality, enhance their communication strategies for broaching the topic of code status in the context of a trusting doctor-patient relationship and sharpen their skills in understanding and managing family dynamics related to end-of-life decisions. Awareness of the barriers to code-status discussions can inform research, education and hospital policy. Consultation with patients is needed to develop effective communication strategies.
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OBJECTIVE: To understand the experience of Haida people living with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), in order to provide a basis for a culturally sensitive community-based approach to managing NIDDM. DESIGN: Qualitative study using grounded theory. SETTING: The villages of Skidegate and Old Massett in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia. PARTICIPANTS: Nine focus groups met at the beginning and six at the end of the project. The focus groups had 8 to 12 members each and roughly the same number of men and women overall. The groups included people with diabetes, family members of people with diabetes, community leaders and elders. FINDINGS: Conceptual findings related to the participants' views on the impact of NIDDM on their lives, their views on what life was like before the effects of NIDDM were felt and their beliefs about the prevention and treatment of NIDDM. Six themes recurred in the discussions: fear; grief and loss; the loss of and desire to regain control; food and eating; physical and personal strength; and traditional ways. CONCLUSIONS: Insights into the illness experience of different cultural groups can inform program development and the creation of culturally sensitive health care interventions.
PROBLEM ADDRESSED: First Nations women in British Columbia, especially elders, are underscreened for cancer of the cervix compared with the general population and are much more likely to die of the disease than other women. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To develop a pilot program, in consultation with community representatives, to address the Pap screening needs of First Nations women 40 years and older on a rural reserve. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: Identification of key links to the population; consultation with the community to design an outreach process; identification of underscreened women; implementation of community Pap screening clinics; evaluation of the pilot program. CONCLUSIONS: We developed a Pap screening outreach program that marked a departure from the usual screening approach in the community. First Nations community health representatives were key links for the process that involved family physicians and office staff at a local clinic on a rural reserve. Participation rate for the pilot program was 48%, resulting in an increase of 15% over the previously recorded screening rate for this population. More screening clinics of this type and evaluation for sustainability are proposed.