SAGE & THYME: a model for training health and social care professionals in patient-focussed support

Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Apr;79(1):87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.06.004. Epub 2009 Jul 22.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication*
  • Education
  • Emotions
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / standards
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • Models, Organizational
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Professional Competence
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Concept
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support*
  • Social Work / education*
  • Social Work / standards