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PatientVOICE: development of a preparatory, pre-chemotherapy online communication tool for older patients with cancer.

Dulmen, S. van, Driesenaar, J.A., Weert, J.C.M. van, Osch, M. van, Noordman, J. PatientVOICE: development of a preparatory, pre-chemotherapy online communication tool for older patients with cancer. JMIR Research Protocols: 2017, 6(5)
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Good communication around cancer treatment is essential in helping patients cope with their disease and related care, especially when this information is tailored to one’s needs. Despite its importance, communication is often complex, in particular in older patients (aged 65 years or older). In addition to the age-related deterioration in information and memory processing older patients experience, communication is also complicated by their required yet often unmet role of being an active, participatory patient. Older patients rarely express their informational needs and their contributions to consultations are often limited. Therefore, older patients with cancer need to be prepared to participate more actively in their care and treatment.

The objective of this paper was to report the development of PatientVOICE, an online, preparatory tool with audio facility aimed to enhance the participation of older patients during educational nursing encounters preceding chemotherapy and to improve their information recall.

PatientVOICE was developed by applying the following 6 steps of the intervention mapping framework that involved both patients and nurses:
(1) needs assessment,
(2) specifying determinants and change objectives,
(3) reviewing and selecting theoretical methods and practical strategies,
(4) developing intervention components,
(5) designing adoption and implementation,
(6) making an evaluation plan.

A careful execution of these consecutive steps resulted in the ready-to-use preparatory website. PatientVOICE provides pre-visit information about chemotherapy (ie, medical information, side effects, and recommendations of dealing with side effects), information about the educational nursing visit preceding chemotherapy (ie, aim, structure, and recommendations for preparation), techniques to improve patients’ communication skills using a question prompt sheet (QPS) and video-modeling examples showing “best practices”, and the opportunity to upload and listen back to an audio recording of a patient’s own nursing visit.

The development process resulted in PatientVOICE, a multi-component online intervention targeted to older patients with cancer. PatientVOICE contains information about the treatment as well as information about the role of the patient during treatment. Using different methods (QPS and audio facility), we hope to support these patients during their treatment. In the future, the utility and usability of this complex intervention will be evaluated in a group of older patients who receive or have received chemotherapy.