Greater reassurance for patients with oesophageal cancer

Patients undergoing surgery for esophageal cancer at the Department of Pulmonary Surgery, Aarhus University Hospital, feel more confident and better prepared for surgery and rehabilitation after receiving a digital care guide that gives them the information they need in a timely manner.

The purpose of a digital care guide is to provide patients with adequate information. This does not mean that patients and relatives do not have access to all the information. But only that they have the opportunity to receive the information in a measured and timely manner via an app for their phone or iPad. It is also an important part of the care guide that the information is provided, for example, via small video clips sent by staff on the ward, because it creates recognition, credibility and security. Evaluations of Emento's digital citizen or patient guides have shown that this improves communication between patient and healthcare professional.

One of the surgical procedures that requires a lot from the patient and relatives is for esophageal cancer. An operation for esophageal cancer is a major operation that both physically and psychologically changes the patient's life forever, so a large amount of information is given. As patients are in the middle of a very difficult situation, where it is known that it is difficult to absorb a lot of information at the same time as the disease, the Department of Pulmonary Surgery at Aarhus University Hospital has focused on creating processes that guide patients and relatives before, during and after hospitalization and surgery. 

The first part of the offer of a digital care guide for patients with esophageal cancer has been running since November 2019. The post-operative pathway will be added later in 2020.81 patients have so far been offered a pre-operative pathway. Of these, 54 have opened their pathway in the app. Patients who have opened the pre-operation app have been offered a post-operation course. So far, 38 patients have been offered one. 

There is generally a high level of satisfaction among the group who have had the process and who wanted to respond to the questions. 60% of the patients have responded that they have felt to a great extent or to a very great extent that the app has created a sense of security in the surgical process. Patients have also felt that their digital care guide has given them the tools to be prepared for what was to happen prior to the operation. Here, 100% responded that they felt either very well or very well informed.

For patients who have undergone surgery for esophageal cancer, it is important to know how the surgery affects life after the procedure, which is why the digital care guide also covers the time after surgery, as well as providing an opportunity for patients and relatives to communicate with healthcare professionals when questions arise.40 40% of patients who have received a digital care guide for esophageal cancer surgery responded that they felt very much or to a great extent prepared for what would happen when they came home from the hospital, and 46.7% responded to some extent.The time after an operation for esophageal cancer often changes the daily life of patients and relatives, and it is therefore important that they feel informed and confident about easy contact with the healthcare system. This can be done, among other things, via the message function in the app, and the department says that the message function in the care guide has brought them closer to the patients, as patients and relatives write about concerns earlier than they would if they had to call in with the same questions. This means that the department can intervene more quickly and help patients if needed.

Allan Juhl
Allan Juhl

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