Patient education and empowerment (PEE) is aimed at improving competence of patients during their clinical path and enabling healthcare providers with specific communication strategies. We investigated the interest of Italian Cancer Research & Care Centers (CRCI) users (patients and caregivers) in being involved in PEE activities. An anonymous questionnaire addressed to users was distributed between June 2013 and February 2014. The questionnaire gathered information on the following: health-related topics; 13 different PEE initiatives/modalities of learning already active at CRCI; personal demographic data; the willingness to be more involved in the organization of health services provided and in which context; and five preferred info-educational activities. Frequency distribution and chi-square analysis were computed. Statistical significance (p value) was set at <0.05. A total of 875 (29%) users responded to the 3000 distributed questionnaires. The first three priorities of interest were “early diagnosis” (18%), “prevention” (17%), and “diagnosis explanation” (13%). The first three priorities on informational activity were as follows: “classes on cancer-related topics with healthcare professionals” (28%); “cancer information service” (22%); “drug information point” (7%). Forty-nine percent of the respondents stated that they would like to be involved in the organization of PEE activities, particularly caregivers and users older than 55 years of age. The preferred educational activities were “classes on cancer-related topics with healthcare professionals” and “cancer information service” on a face-to-face modality. Patients were more interested than caregivers in “prevention.” The extension of PEE programs to all CRCI users into routine care will be the next step of the present research.
- Cancer care, Italy, Observational cross-sectional study, Patient education, Patient empowerment, Questionnaires, Unmet needs