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Review
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Preparatory Education for Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery: A Systematic Review of Volume and Quality of Research Output Over Time

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Review

Preparatory Education for Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery: A Systematic Review of Volume and Quality of Research Output Over Time

Amy Waller et al. Patient Educ Couns.

Abstract

Objective: To determine the volume and scope of research output examining preparation of patients for people undergoing cancer-related surgical treatment, and the impact of pre-operative education on patient outcomes and health care utilisation.

Methods: Medline, EMBASE, PsychINFO databases were systematically searched. Eligible papers were coded as data-based or non-data-based. Data-based papers were further classified as descriptive, measurement or intervention studies. Methodological quality and effectiveness of intervention studies were assessed using Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) criteria.

Results: We identified 121 eligible papers. The number of publications significantly increased over time. Most were data-based (n=99) and descriptive (n=83). Fourteen intervention studies met EPOC design criteria. Face-to-face interventions reported benefits for anxiety (5/7), satisfaction (1/1), knowledge (3/3) and health care costs (1/1). Audio-visual and multi-media interventions improved satisfaction (1/1) and knowledge (2/3), but not anxiety (0/3). Written interventions were mixed.

Conclusion: Descriptive studies dominate the literature examining preoperative education in oncology populations, with few rigorous intervention studies. Pre-operative education can improve satisfaction, knowledge and reduce anxiety.

Practice implications: Further work should be directed at multi-modal interventions, and those that include the caregiver, given their role in assisting patients to prepare and recover from surgery.

Keywords: Cancer; Patient education; Surgery; Systematic review.

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