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Table 2 Description of communication codes

From: Design of, and enrollment in, the palliative care communication research initiative: a direct-observation cohort study

Domain Description/Examples
ENGAGING in discussion
Initiator [20] First speaker of prognosis content. Includes a question or statement.
Early onset [20] Prognosis content occurring within first 5 min of conversation
Goal expression [72] My hope is that this treatment will help me to feel more energy and buy me some time so that I can go on a cruise this summer with my family.
Mutually INFORMING
Quantity [21] Number of segments containing prognosis content
Topic [21]  
Cure It is very unlikely that my cancer will be cured.
Survival I expect that you will live for days to weeks, rather than months to years.
Function You will likely need more help getting around over the next few months…
Symptoms Your shortness of breath is likely to worsen in the next weeks, and we can help…
Conditional prognoses [20] If you choose to continue transfusions, you are likely to live a little longer and likely to spend much more time in the hospital.
Goal-linked prognoses [22] One thing I hear that you are hoping for is to live until your son’s graduation; my sense is that there is a good chance that you will live that long….
RESPONDING to Emotiona
Type of emotion [24]  
Sadness I just don’t care what happens anymore [crying], I’m so alone.
Fear/worry I’m so scared about what’s gonna happen to my family…
Anger I don’t give a [expletive] what the [expletive] doctors say, I’m gonna beat this!
Intense emotion [24] Emotion interrupts speech pattern or emotion repeated within same segment
Compassion [24] I can see that this uncertainty is a burden on you and your family; I am committed to seeing you through this and have some ideas about how to help…
FRAMING Uncertainty
Affective cues [21]  
Optimistic The good news is I expect you will live for a few more months.
Pessimistic Unfortunately, I expect you will only live for a few months.
Deductive distance [21]  
Population About 30 % of people die within one month.
Individual I believe that there is a 30 % chance you will die within one month.
Ambiguous [73] Things ahead look pretty good.
Your prognosis is poor but nobody can predict the future.
  1. aemotion that is identifiably about prognosis based on the language used within the statement or within the segment directly following another prognosis-containing segment