Objective: To develop a model for addressing the emotional concerns of patients or their caregivers; to teach the model in a three-hour workshop and to assess the impact of that training on a wide range of health and social care staff.
Methods: A multi-specialty team, including a cancer patient, developed a model based on the evidence relating to emotional support and communication skills. The model (SAGE & THYME) consists of nine steps (see Box 1). The purpose of the model is to enable staff of all grades and roles to fulfil the most important objectives of support: enabling patients to describe their concerns and emotions if they wish to do so, holding and respecting those concerns; identifying the patients' support structures; exploring the patients' own ideas and solutions before offering advice or information. Over 800 health and social care staff of all grades and students have participated in the three-hour SAGE & THYME training workshops.
Results: Analysis from 412 participants suggests that the workshops had a significant positive effect on self-confidence (p<.0005), self-perception of competence (p<.0005) and willingness to explore the emotional concerns of patients (p<.0005). 95% felt that the workshop would be very likely to have an impact on their practice.
Conclusions: The workshops have been successful in increasing the self-perceptions of confidence, competence and willingness to explore the emotional concerns of patients. The model 'SAGE & THYME' has been welcomed by participants.
Practice implications: Staff groups will require training for patients or their caregivers to have their concerns heard without interruption and to be allowed to explore their own resolutions. The three-hour SAGE & THYME training may go some way towards helping patients and staff form sound partnerships which assist patients to participate constructively in their own care.
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