A Theory-Based Decision Aid for Patients with Cancer: Results of Feasibility and Acceptability Testing of DecisionKEYS for Cancer

PURPOSE: Appropriate utilization of treatment is a goal for all patients undergoing cancer treatment. Proper treatment maximizes benefit and limits exposure to unnecessary measures. This report describes findings of the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a short, clinic-based decision aid and presents an in-depth clinical profile of the participants.

METHODS: This descriptive study used a prospective, quantitative approach to obtain the feasibility and acceptability of a decision aid (DecisionKEYS for Balancing Choices) for use in clinical settings. It combined results of trials of patients with three different common malignancies. All groups used the same decision aid series. Participants included 80 patients with solid tumors (22 with newly diagnosed breast cancer, 19 with advanced prostate cancer, and 39 with advanced lung cancer) and their 80 supporters as well as their physicians and nurses, for a total of 160 participants and 10 health professionals.

RESULTS: The decision aid was highly acceptable to patient and supporter participants in all diagnostic groups. It was feasible for use in clinic settings; the overall value was rated highly. Of six physicians, all found the interactive format with the help of the nurse as feasible and acceptable. Nurses also rated the decision aid favorably.

CONCLUSIONS: This intervention provides the opportunity to enhance decision making about cancer treatment and warrants further study including larger and more diverse groups. Strengths of the study included a theoretical grounding, feasibility testing of a practical clinic-based intervention, and summative evaluation of acceptability of the intervention by patient and supporter pairs. Further research also is needed to test the effectiveness of the decision aid in diverse clinical settings and to determine if this intervention can decrease overall costs.