Recommendations for offline and online tailored communication for older cancer patients and their healthcare providers (OCA-5)

Currently, 60% of Dutch patients newly diagnosed with cancer are 65 years or older and this number is rapidly increasing. Due to age-related problems, these patients are particularly at risk for poor communication with providers. To increase the likelihood that older patients experience less distress and process information optimally, it is critical to provide information in a variety of ways. Medical information is expected to be better processed when mediated sources (e.g., the Internet) are combined with interpersonal patient-provider interaction. In this project, both offline (i.e., patient-provider communication) and online (i.e., the Internet) communication are addressed to provide tailored information to older cancer patients. For offline communication, we will develop tailored communication advices for healthcare providers. These tailored advices are based on the patients’ information needs and preferences, and help the healthcare provider to understand the information needs of that particular patient and to tailor the communication accordingly. For online communication, patients’ information needs and preferences will be used to tailored online information presentation to patients’ visual or mode preferences.

The research project will be conducted in collaboration with oncologists, geriatricians, nurses, and patient associations. The results of this project will be suitable for immediate practical application. The project aims to gather more knowledge on effective communication with older cancer patients, and directly apply this knowledge to practice, with the final aim to optimize cancer communication for older adults.

This project is a collaboration between the Amsterdam School of Communication Research/ASCoR (budget holder) and the department of Medical Psychology (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam.

Research team: Dr. Nadine Bol and Dr. Annemiek Linn (PostDocs)
Prof. Julia van Weert and Prof. Ellen Smets (PIs)
Status: Ongoing since March 2015
Funding: Dutch Cancer Society