Information interventions for orienting patients and their carers to cancer care facilities

Chan, Raymond Javan, Webster, Joan, & Marquart, Louise (2011) Information interventions for orienting patients and their carers to cancer care facilities. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12, pp. 1-44.

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Background: Cancer patients experience distress and anxiety related to their diagnosis, treatment and the unfamiliar cancer centre. Strategies with the aim of orienting patients to a cancer care facility may improve patient outcomes. Although meeting patients' information needs at different stages is important, there is little agreement about the type of information and the timing for information to be given. Orientation interventions aim to address information needs at the start of a person's experience with a cancer care facility. The extent of any benefit of these interventions is unknown.

Objectives: To assess the effects of information interventions which orient patients and their carers/family to a cancer care facility, and to the services available in the facility.

Search Methods: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 2); MEDLINE (OvidSP) (1966 to Jun 2011), EMBASE (Ovid SP) (1966 to Jun 2011), CINAHL (EBSCO) (1982 to Jun 2011), PsycINFO (OvidSP) (1966 to Jun 2011), review articles and reference lists of relevant articles. We contacted principal investigators and experts in the field.

Selection Criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster RCTs and quasi-RCTs evaluating the effects of information interventions that orient patients and their carers/family to a cancer care facility.

Data collection and analysis: Results of searches were reviewed against the pre-determined criteria for inclusion by two review authors. The primary outcomes were knowledge and understanding; health status and wellbeing, evaluation of care, and harms. Secondary outcomes were communication, skills acquisition, behavioural outcomes, service delivery, and health professional outcomes. We pooled results of RCTs using mean differences (MD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Main results: We included four RCTs involving 610 participants. All four trials aimed to investigate the effects of orientation programs for cancer patients to a cancer facility. There was high risk of bias across studies. Findings from two of the RCTs demonstrated significant benefits of the orientation intervention in relation to levels of distress (mean difference (MD) -8.96 (95% confidence interval (CI) -11.79 to -6.13), but non-significant benefits in relation to state anxiety levels (MD -9.77 (95% CI -24.96 to 5.41). Other outcomes for participants were generally positive (e.g. more knowledgeable about the cancer centre and cancer therapy, better coping abilities). No harms or adverse effects were measured or reported by any of the included studies. There were insufficient data on the other outcomes of interest.

Authors conclusion: This review has demonstrated the feasibility and some potential benefits of orientation interventions. There was a low level of evidence suggesting that orientation interventions can reduce distress in patients. However, most of the other outcomes remain inconclusive (patient knowledge recall/ satisfaction). The majority of studies were subject to high risk of bias, and were likely to be insufficiently powered. Further well conducted and powered RCTs are required to provide evidence for determining the most appropriate intensity, nature, mode and resources for such interventions. Patient and carer-focused outcomes should be included.

Impact and interest:

43 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 47606
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Orientation programs, Cancer therapies, Patient education, Cancer care centres, Caregivers, Systematic review
DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008273.pub2
ISSN: 1469-493X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > ONCOLOGY AND CARCINOGENESIS (111200) > Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified (111299)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2011 The Cochrane Collaboration
Deposited On: 11 Dec 2011 22:38
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 17:35

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