Addressing patients' colorectal cancer needs in preoperative education

Nicola Jane Spalding, Fiona Mary Poland, Sheila Gregory, Jane McCulloch, Kevin Sargen, Penny Vicary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand and develop ways to enhance patients' experiences of preoperative education received prior to surgery for colorectal cancer. Design/methodology/approach: Based in the UK, three-action research cycles were undertaken to evaluate preoperative education, identify changes seen by patients and staff as likely to improve the service and to re-evaluate such changes following implementation. Data in each cycle were collected from: observations of clinic interactions; patient questionnaires; individual semi-structured interviews with multidisciplinary colorectal unit staff; longitudinal semi-structured interviews with patients and carers pre-surgery, two weeks post-surgery and 12 weeks post-surgery; patient and carer focus groups post-surgery; and existing educational material. Findings: In total, 138 participants shared their experiences of either giving or receiving preoperative education. Findings were themed into why patients want preoperative education, and patients' views of the educational processes. Practical implications: Patients emphasised the need for educational provision to be fully understandable, comprehensive and client-centred using a range of communication processes. Patients emphasised the need for educational provision to be more fully understandable, comprehensive and client-centred and that important messages should be reinforced using a range of media. At a time of many uncertainties for patients' lives, such education needed to encompass the experiences patients could expect, delivered by confident healthcare professionals. Originality/value: Contextualising understanding and facilitating their own actions, enabled patients to regain control in circumstances particularly disruptive of bodily and other life routines. Establishing a sense of control is confirmed as important for patient's wellbeing in preparing for surgery and postoperative rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-516
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Action research
  • Cancer
  • Education
  • Preoperative

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