A systematic review : the effects of orientation programs for cancer patients and their family/carers

Chan, Raymond, Webster, Joan, & Marquart, Louise (2012) A systematic review : the effects of orientation programs for cancer patients and their family/carers. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 49(12), pp. 1558-1567.

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


Systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cluster RCTs and quasi-RCTs.

Data sources

MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.


We included studies evaluating the effect of an orientation intervention, compared with a control group which received usual care, or with trials comparing one orientation intervention with another orientation intervention.


Four RCTs of 610 participants met the criteria for inclusion. Findings from two RCTs demonstrated significant benefits of the orientation intervention in relation to reduced levels of distress (mean difference (MD): −8.96, 95% confidence interval (95%CI): −11.79 to −6.13), but non-significant benefits in relation to the levels state anxiety levels (MD −9.77) (95%CI: −24.96 to 5.41). There are insufficient data on the other outcomes of interest.


This review has demonstrated the feasibility and some potential benefits of orientation interventions. There was a low level of evidence to suggest that orientation interventions can reduce distress in patients. However, other outcomes, including patient knowledge recall/satisfaction, remain inconclusive. The majority of trials were subjected 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:

3 citations in Scopus
4 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 49526
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Cancer patients, Cancer care services, Meta-analysis, Orientation programs, Patient education, Structured information giving, Family, Carers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.03.002
ISSN: 1873-491X
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)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Copyright Statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Nursing Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Nursing Studies, 49(12), 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.03.002
Deposited On: 04 Apr 2012 02:25
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2017 02:19

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