Project EMPOWER demonstrates the importance of psychoeducation in healthcare decision making, especially regarding treatment decisions that are often driven by strong emotions and misconceptions, such as deciding whether to pursue palliative care. However, this research only targeted individual preferences, and future translational research is necessary to clarify whether psychoeducational interventions can ultimately improve quality of life by increasing use of palliative care services.
It would also be worthwhile to explore alternative methods of disseminating information about palliative care to patients (eg, mobile apps and other forms of technology). Another direction that future research should address is the role of the therapeutic relationship and whether direct communication between clinicians and patients has an impact on palliative care use.
Nevertheless, our research provides a strong case that, across demographic and clinical populations, informed patients are less wary of palliative care and more inclined to take advantage of the favorable effects that palliative care services can offer for patient-centered outcomes.
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