Delivery of telephone-based supportive care to people with cancer: An analysis of cancer helpline operator and cancer nurse communication
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Objectives: Telephone-based supportive care presents a potentially highly accessible means of addressing unmet supportive care needs for people with cancer. Identification of behaviours that facilitate communication is essential for development of training for telephone-based supportive care. The aim of this study was to describe communication behaviours within supportive care telephone calls in two contexts (1) a telephone outreach intervention and (2) cancer helpline calls, to identify potential areas for further training. Methods: 50 recorded calls were analysed using two standardised coding systems: the RIAS and Verona-CoDES-C. Results: Mean call length was 21 min (304 utterances) for nurse-outreach calls and 23 min (355 utterances) for helpline calls. Closed questioning, verbal attentiveness and giving information/counselling were the most common communication behaviours identified. Emotional cues were most commonly responded to through non-explicit back-channelling, exploration of content or provision of reassurance or advice. Conclusions: This study confirmed the need to address the manner in which questions are framed to maximise patient disclosure. Responding to patent emotional cues was highlighted as an area for future training focus. Practice implications: Communication skills training that addresses each of these tasks is likely to improve the effectiveness of telephone-based delivery of supportive care.
Patient Education and Counseling
Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified