Understanding and meeting the needs of rural and regional radiotherapy patients with educational multimedia

Ms Jacinta Krstic1Ms Amelia WanEmily Whillance,1 Adrian Mendoza,1 Jane Honey,1 Richard Oates.

1Radiation Therapist at the Peter Maccallum Cancer Centre, Bendigo campus

Abstract

Aims

Studies show that cancer patients fear radiation therapy due to a limited understanding of its purpose and its accompanying side effects, even after consultation with a Radiation Oncologist and a simulation session with a Radiation Therapist.  This project aims to address the need for rural and regional patients to be informed of their treatment plan and processes prior to commencing radiotherapy.

Methods

Patients were given Patient Education Satisfaction Survey 1 during the course of radiotherapy treatment to identify education needs.  Using this information, videos were created for distribution to patients prior to commencing radiotherapy. The videos included footage of the radiotherapy department and team, as well as footage of a virtual radiotherapy environment with enhanced visualisation from commercially available software. Patient Education Satisfaction Survey 2 was conducted subsequently to evaluate the videos.

Results

Fifty patients completed survey 1 and their education needs were identified.  Four videos were created which focussed on palliative/general radiotherapy, breast, prostate and upper gastrointestinal tumours. Fifty patients completed survey 2 to evaluate the videos and provided feedback on their content.

Discussion

This project enabled the production of patient education materials which aimed to meet patient education needs and allowed for patient feedback in their development. These videos will provide improved understanding of the radiotherapy process and may help to reduce patient fears.  Final versions of the videos will be distributed via DVD and online to the relevant patient groups and their families who may not be able to attend the department.

Biography

Jacinta Krstic is a Radiation Therapist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Bendigo. She completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Radiation Therapy at RMIT and has been working as a qualified radiation therapist for 2 years. She is currently working on a project funded by LMICS to develop patient and GP radiation therapy education videos to promote increased awareness about radiation therapy in the regional and rural environment.