The value of written summaries of genetic consultations.
Hallowell N., Murton F.
Many individuals who attend genetic counselling perceive themselves as having a duty to disseminate the information they obtain to other relatives. Given that individuals often experience difficulty in recalling the information they receive during consultations, it can be argued that there is a potential for the miscommunication of genetic information within families. This study investigated women's perceptions and use of written summaries of genetic consultations. 40 women were interviewed following their attendance at genetic counseling for breast/ovarian cancer. Attitudes about the written summaries and the dissemination of these summaries within the family are described. 92% said that the summary aided their understanding and/or recall of information. 85% said they had used, or intended to use, the written summary to facilitate the communication of genetic information to other biological relatives. Some potential disadvantages of the use of written summaries of genetic consultations will also be discussed.