Understanding Bias Experienced by Caregivers Regarding Cancer-Related Decisions With Nick Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN

At the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, Nick Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing and School of Geriatric and Palliative Care, presented a poster about his clinical trial exploring cancer-related decisions and the health care team bias experienced by caregivers regarding these decisions. Afterwards, he spoke with Oncology Data Advisor to shed further light on the trial’s results.  

Oncology Data Advisor: Would you like to introduce and tell us a bit about yourself?

Nick Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN: My name is Nick Dionne-Odom. I’m an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Oncology Data Advisor: Would you like to give us an overview of the bias experienced by caregivers regarding cancer-related decisions?

Dr. Dionne-Odom: Sure. I partnered with a 401(c)3 called Cancer Care, which is based in New York, to conduct a large national survey of family caregivers of individuals with cancer across the US. This was a web-based survey where one of the questions we asked was whether or not they and the patient with cancer they care for experienced any kind of bias in the decision support they received from the oncology team.

Oncology Data Advisor: What were the results you found, and what were the impact of these results?

Dr. Dionne-Odom: There were two primary results. One, about half of the respondents in the survey reported bias in the support that they received by the health care team for partnering with patients and making cancer-related decisions. Two, when we correlated whether or not a person has experienced a bias with their psychological distress, measured using validated measures, we found that these folks experienced significantly higher distress compared with those who experienced no bias.

Oncology Data Advisor: How do you think these results should impact practice?

Dr. Dionne-Odom: So, I think for clinicians, it means we need to reflect on how we’re delivering decision support to patients and families with cancer; acknowledge background characteristics that may be on the minds of these families whenever we’re providing this decision support; and consider acknowledging this openly to address any concerns by the patients and the family.

About Dr. Dionne-Odom

Nick Dionne-Odom, PhD, RN, is an Assistant Professor and Palliative Care Nurse Researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing and School of Geriatrics and Palliative Care. His research interests focus on clinical trials to improve the lives of patients with advanced cancer and heart failure, as well as to improve the experiences of their families. He is an active advocate for these individuals and their families.

For More Information

Dionne-Odom JN, Ornstein KA, Azuero A, et al (2022). Bias reported by family caregivers of healthcare team support when assisting patients with cancer-related decision-making. J Clin Oncol (ASCO Annual Meeting Abstracts), 40(suppl_16). Abstract 12015. DOI:10.1200/JCO.2022.40.16_suppl.12015

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor. 

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