A study by Carole Robinson (left), a professor in the School of Nursing at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and Martha Cresswell, a nursing student, show how cancer patients might use an advance care planning software created for seniors. -Image: Contributed

UBCO prof tests software to help cancer patients

Program may help those reluctant to engage ‘tough conversations’ in advance care planning

A UBC study investigating how cancer patients might use an advance care planning software created for seniors, has shown promising results and led to improvements in the program.

Carole Robinson, a professor in the School of Nursing at UBC’s Okanagan campus, and Martha Cresswell, a student in the Master of Science nursing program, asked a group of oncology patients to use a web-based interactive program called PREPARE that is designed to engage people in advance care planning (ACP) conversations.

“Despite decades of work to embed advance care planning into health care systems, many patients who access cancer care do not understand their role in making choices and are simply unprepared to begin ACP conversations,” says Robinson. “This places them at risk of unwanted care, particularly during a health crisis.”

Cancer patients tend to have a ‘lack of engagement’ when it comes to advance care planning, says Robinson. This often leads to family members making decisions they are not ready for, conflict in a family, and negative healthcare consequences. While initially designed for seniors, Cresswell says PREPARE seemed promising for oncology patients and she gave it a test run.

“We wanted to explore the acceptability, applicability, and understandability of the ACP resource,” explains Creswell. “It had not been tested for use within oncology, but had previously been shown to positively influence the readiness of community-dwelling seniors to engage in ACP.”

Patients with a variety of cancers including breast, lymphoma, gastrointestinal and ovarian were part of the study group. Five topics were addressed: choose a medical decision-maker, decide what matters most in life, choose flexibility for your decision-maker, tell others about your medical wishes, and ask doctors the right questions.

Cresswell says participants engaged in personal reflection as they worked their way through the website, actively contemplating and debating the ACP options presented by PREPARE and comparing those options to their own life experiences. They also evaluated the resource for use as a cancer patient.

“While it was the first time PREPARE was used with oncology patients, it took them through some critical steps,” says Robinson. “And it began an on-going conversation about the potential for end-of-life preferences for care.”

In fact, the study shows a few participants had difficulty with the life-limiting language found within the website. Cresswell explains that end-of-life language can trigger worries and fears by challenging the patient’s goals for treatment and their focus on a cure. And Robinson agrees these findings can partially explain the barriers to ACP that appear unique to cancer patients who are receiving treatment.

“It’s all about encouraging the beginning of a conversation with your family so you can have a say in your care should something happen and you can no longer speak for yourself,” she adds. “We suggest patients start the conversation when they are well and to perhaps think of it as a gift to the family that may prevent future conflict or challenges.”

Robinson notes feedback from the participants led to a change in some of the terminology used in the program. Her next step may be a follow-up study to determine whether the language causes distress or disengagement from ACP.

This study, partially funded by a grant from the BC Cancer Foundation, was recently published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Kelowna man given 4 year sentence after creating pimp operation on dating site

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Recovering Kelowna addict rises above her past

Victimized by systems suppose to help, a woman tries to fix her life

Plugged in: Kelowna teen thriving with professional eSports U.S. team

Russel Van Dulken turned his love and skills of gaming into a career

Okanagan College names new fundraising director

Helen Jackman will join the college as executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Okangan author shorlisted in B.C. historical writing competition

The BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded together with $2,500 to the author whose book makes the most significant contribution to the historical literature of British Columbia.

Most Read