Managing Bias in Palliative Care: Professional Hazards in Goals of Care Discussions at the End of Life.

Abstract

BACKGROUND In the setting of end-of-life care, biases can interfere with patient articulation of goals and hinder provision of patient-centered care. No studies have addressed clinician bias or bias management specific to goals of care discussions at the end of life. OBJECTIVES To identify and determine the prevalence of palliative care clinician biases and bias management strategies in end-of-life goals of care discussions. DESIGN A semistructured interview guide with relevant domains was developed to facilitate data collection. Participants were asked directly to identify biases and bias management strategies applicable to this setting. Two researchers developed a codebook to identify themes using a 25% transcript sample through an iterative process based on grounded theory. Inter-rater reliability was evaluated using Cohen κ. It was 0.83, indicating near perfect agreement between coders. The data approach saturation. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS A purposive sampling of 20 palliative care clinicians in Middle Tennessee participated in interviews. RESULTS The 20 clinicians interviewed identified 16 biases and 11 bias management strategies. The most frequently mentioned bias was a bias against aggressive treatment (n = 9), described as a clinician's assumption that most interventions at the end of life are not beneficial. The most frequently mentioned bias management strategy was self-recognition of bias (n = 17), described as acknowledging that bias is present. CONCLUSION This is the first study identifying palliative care clinicians' biases and bias management strategies in end-of-life goals of care discussions.

DOI: 10.1177/1049909117707486

Cite this paper

@article{Callaghan2017ManagingBI, title={Managing Bias in Palliative Care: Professional Hazards in Goals of Care Discussions at the End of Life.}, author={Katharine A Callaghan and Joseph B Fanning}, journal={The American journal of hospice & palliative care}, year={2017}, pages={1049909117707486} }