Implementing patient information for gynae-oncology patients at a tertiary referral health service

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Abstract

Aim:

To ensure that gynae-oncology surgical patients receive relevant written information, in their preferred format, and at a time that suits them, according to the best available evidence.

Methods:

This project utilized an audit and feedback design and was conducted over a 9-month period from August 2015 to May 2016. Twenty-nine patients were audited prior to two strategies being implemented. The first strategy was a standardized e-mail letter to all patients (containing links to surgical information, cancer support websites and a short video introducing hospital staff, and the second was a discharge information sheet detailing wound care, signs of complications, actions to take and follow-up instructions. Thirty patients were audited post-implementation to evaluate the success of these strategies.

Results:

There were significant increases in the number of patients who said they received written information on their diagnosis, surgery and potential complications at initial consultation and a significant increase in the number of patients who said they were provided with written follow-up information on discharge. Pre-audit, 83% of patients stated they would like to receive a list of reliable websites to access and post-audit, 89% of patients stated they found the websites provided were useful.

Discussion:

Although gynae-oncology surgical patients did previously receive relevant verbal information, little or no written information was provided. The pre-implementation audit provided insight into the information these patients required. The e-mail was generally well received by patients; however; there was a minority who did not have internet access and therefore a paper version was provided.

Conclusion:

This project identified deficits in the provision of written information for surgical gynae-oncology patients. Two strategies were implemented to address this deficit with positive results in the number of patients receiving written information; however, further investigation is needed to establish patient satisfaction with this information.

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