Background Given the sensitive and intricate nature of oncological cases, especially in paediatric age group, it is important to have specific and strategic ways of discussing and communicating diagnosis and treatment plan. Especially being aware that to achieve the trust and faith of our patients and relatives in paediatric oncology, effective communication is key.
Thus, emphasis of both verbal and non-verbal communication with oncology patient cannot be over emphasised.
Objectives Our survey highlighted an assessment of how our communication of diagnosis and care has been with emphasis on striving for improvement. Examples of communications asked about includes, how well the diagnosis was discussed the first time, and how much of the information given was fully understood in the easiest possible manner.
Also, emphasis was placed on regular care given with each admission and how well our team communicated our line of management provided at each step of the way.
There were other areas covered in the questionnaire including support from community nurses, tertiary centres, play specialists and medications given.
Methods Our team sent out questionnaires on general satisfaction of patients receiving care in our paediatric oncology shared care centre. Patients and/or parents were encouraged to remain anonymous as much as possible to encourage objective feedback.
Our questionnaire was made into various sections for example, demographics and diagnosis, medications received in our centre and frequency of medications.
Results 75% of the questionnaire sent were returned filled.
Out of those returned survey, 70% felt we communicate with them well while 30% felt we communicate poorly. we also found that most of our patient had a diagnosis of ALL with good prognostic indicators. In our centre, the importance and usefulness of our play specialist was highlighted by 100% of our patients.
All that filled the survey felt community nurses communicate excellently. 100% indicated most of the information are preferred in both written and verbal forms. Some points raised includes diagnosis being rushed or not properly explained.
Conclusions Important emphasis needs to be placed on how we discuss and communicate our treatment but most especially at the first diagnosis of our oncology patients. Communicating in both verbal and written forms has proven effective in delivering necessary information to patients. The need for regular and mandatory training on communication with oncology patient should be mandated for clinicians. In our case, we will continue to work on excellent delivery of diagnosis and discussions with our oncology patients.
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