Objective To describe the frequency, roles, and utility of family companion involvement in the care of patients with Heart Failure (HF) care and to examine the association between audiotaped patient, companion, and provider communication behaviors. Methods We collected survey data and audiotaped a single medical visit for 93 HF patients (36 brought a companion into the examination room) and their cardiology provider. Communication data was analyzed using the Roter Interaction Analysis System. Results There were 32% more positive rapport-building statements (p < 0.01) and almost three times as many social rapport-building statements (p < 0.01) from patients and companions in accompanied visits versus unaccompanied patient visits. There were less psychosocial information giving statements in accompanied visits compared to unaccompanied patient visits (p < 0.01.) Providers made 25% more biomedical information giving statements (p = 0.04) and almost three times more social rapport-building statements (p < 0.01) in accompanied visits. Providers asked fewer biomedical and psychosocial questions in accompanied versus unaccompanied visits. Providers made 16% fewer partnership-building statements in accompanied versus unaccompanied visits (p = 0.01). Conclusions Our findings are mixed regarding the benefits of accompaniment for facilitating patient-provider communication based on survey and audiotaped data. Practice implications Strategies to enhance engagement during visits, such as pre-visit question prompt lists, may be beneficial.
- Heart failure
- Patient-provider communication
- Social support
- Visit companions
ASJC Scopus subject areas