Educating Our Patients Collaboratively: A Novel Interprofessional Approach
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- Reinhart, R., D’Alimonte, L., Osmar, K. et al. J Canc Educ (2014) 29: 382. doi:10.1007/s13187-014-0623-0
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Providing cancer patients with more information regarding their treatments allows them to feel more in control, increases self efficacy, and can decrease anxiety. The aims of the present study were to develop an interprofessional group education session and to evaluate the usefulness and acceptability of this session. In addition, informational distress levels pre- and post-education were evaluated. A prostate radiation therapy (RT) education session was developed and facilitated by an interprofessional team. Topics discussed included how RT works, side effects and management, and support services available. Prior to the education session, participants reported their informational RT distress levels using the validated Distress Thermometer (DT). Post-education session, the DT was readministered. In addition, participants completed an acceptability survey to assess format, structure, and usefulness of the education session. Participants agreed that the session contained valuable and useful information helping them understand expectations during treatment, including resource availability, side effects and management, as well as procedural expectation during treatment. All stated they would recommend the session to other patients. The interprofessional nature of the sessions was deemed useful. Suggested areas for improvement included addition of a dietitian, information on long-term side effects, statistics of radiotherapy side effects, impact of radiotherapy on sexual function, and overall quality of life. The group education session significantly improved informational distress levels (p = 0.04). Educating prostate cancer patients utilizing an interprofessional group format can decrease anxiety and stress related to their RT treatment. Future development of group education sessions for other disease site groups may be valuable.