Family companions' involvement during pre-surgical consent visits for major cancer surgery and its relationship to visit communication and satisfaction

Sarina R. Isenberg, Rebecca A. Aslakson, James N. Dionne-Odom, Katherine Smith, Sarabdeep Singh, Susan M Larson, John F.P. Bridges, Thomas J Smith, Jennifer Wolff, Debra Roter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To examine the association between family companion presence during pre-surgical visits to discuss major cancer surgery and patient-provider communication and satisfaction. Methods: Secondary analysis of 61 pre-surgical visit recordings with eight surgical oncologists at an academic tertiary care hospital using the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS). Surgeons, patients, and companions completed post-visit satisfaction questionnaires. Poisson and logistic regression models assessed differences in communication and satisfaction when companions were present vs. absent. Results: There were 46 visits (75%) in which companions were present, and 15 (25%) in which companions were absent. Companion communication was largely emotional and facilitative, as measured by RIAS. Companion presence was associated with more surgeon talk (IRR 1.29, p = 0.006), and medical information-giving (IRR 1.41, p = 0.001). Companion presence was associated with less disclosure of lifestyle/psychosocial topics by patients (IRR 0.55, p = 0.037). In adjusted analyses, companions' presence was associated with lower levels of patient-centeredness (IRR 0.77, p 0.004). There were no differences in patient or surgeon satisfaction based on companion presence. Conclusion: Companions' presence during pre-surgical visits was associated with patient-surgeon communication but was not associated with patient or surgeon satisfaction. Practice implications: Future work is needed to develop interventions to enhance patient-companion-provider interactions in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Cancer
  • Companion
  • Family caregiver
  • Patient-provider communication
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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