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Recall in older cancer patients: measuring memory for medical information

By J. Jansen, J. van Weert, N. van der Meulen, S. van Dulmen, Th. Heeren and J. Bensing


Purpose: Remembering medical treatment information\ud may be particularly taxing for older cancer\ud patients, but to our knowledge this ability has never\ud been assessed in this specific age group only. Our\ud purpose in this study was to investigate older cancer\ud patients’ recall of information after patient education\ud preceding chemotherapy. Design and Methods:\ud We constructed a recall questionnaire consisting of\ud multiple-choice questions, completion items, and\ud open-ended questions related to information about\ud treatment and recommendations on how to handle\ud side effects. Immediately after a nursing consultation\ud preceding chemotherapy treatment, 69 older patients\ud (M=71.8 years, SD=4.1) completed the questionnaire.\ud We checked recall against the actual communication\ud in video recordings of the consultations.\ud Results: On average, 82.2 items were discussed\ud during the consultations. The mean percentage of\ud information recalled correctly was 23.2% for openended\ud questions, 68.0% for completion items, and\ud 80.2% for multiple-choice questions. Implications:\ud Older cancer patients are confronted with a lot of\ud information. Recall of information strongly depended\ud on question format; especially active reproduction appeared\ud to be poor. To improve treatment outcomes, it\ud is important that cancer patients are able to actively\ud retrieve knowledge about how to prevent and recognize\ud adverse side effects and that this is checked by the health professional. We make suggestions on how to make information more memorable for older\ud cancer patients

Topics: Sociale Wetenschappen, cancer care, cognition, memory, patient education
Year: 2008
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