Caregiver-reported quality of communication in pancreatic and periampullary cancer

Zhi Ven Fong, Jonathan Teinor, Lilly Engineer, Theresa P. Yeo, Dee Rinaldi, Jonathan B. Greer, Harish Lavu, Motaz Qadan, Fabian M. Johnston, Cristina R. Ferrone, David C. Chang, Charles J. Yeo, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Andrew L. Warshaw, Keith D. Lillemoe, Carlos Fernandez del Castillo, Matthew J. Weiss, Albert W. Wu, Jennifer L. Wolff

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Background: Communication between caregivers and clinical team members is critical for transitional care, but its quality and potential impact on outcomes are not well understood. This study reports on caregiver-reported quality of communication with clinical team members in the postpancreatectomy period and examines associations of these reports with patient and caregiver outcomes. Methods: Caregivers of patients with pancreatic and periampullary malignancies who had undergone pancreatectomy were surveyed. Instrument measures assessed care experiences using the Caregiver Perceptions About Communication with Clinical Team Members (CAPACITY) instrument. The instrument has two main subscales: communication, assessing the extent to which providers helped caregivers comprehend details of clinical visits, and capacity, defined as the extent to which providers assessed whether caregivers were able to care for patients. Results: Of 265 caregivers who were approached, 240 (90.6%) enrolled in the study. The mean communication and capacity subscale scores were 2.7 ± 0.6 and 1.5 ± 0.6, respectively (range, 0–4 [higher = better]). Communication subscale scores were lower among caregivers of patients who experienced (vs. those who did not experience) a 30-day readmission (2.6 ± 0.5 vs. 2.8 ± 0.6, respectively; p =.047). Capacity subscale scores were inversely associated with restriction in patient daily activities (a 0.04 decrement in the capacity score for every 1 point in daily activity restriction; p =.008). Conclusions: After pancreatectomy, patients with pancreatic and periampullary cancer whose caregivers reported worse communication with care providers were more likely to experience readmission. Caregivers of patients with greater daily activity restrictions were less likely to report being asked about the caregiver's skill and capacity by clinicians. Plain Language Summary: This prospective study used a validated survey instrument and reports on the quality of communication between health care providers and caregivers as reported by caregivers of patients with pancreatic and periampullary cancer after pancreatectomy. In an analysis of 240 caregivers enrolled in the study, lower communication scores (the extent to which providers helped caregivers understand clinical details) were associated with higher odds of 30-day patient readmission to the hospital. In addition, lower capacity scores (the extent to which providers assessed caregivers' ability to care for patients) were associated with greater impairment in caregivers. The strikingly low communication quality and capacity assessment scores suggest substantial room for improvement, with the potential to improve both caregiver and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2051-2059
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2024


  • caregiver
  • communication
  • pancreatic cancer
  • periampullary cancer
  • quality of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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