Background Our wellbeing centre has included education groups for a number of years. We separated the therapy groups to increase the speed of access and reviewed their content.
Aims Determine patients’ knowledge about managing their fatigue, anxiety and breathlessness (FAB) pre and post group. Evaluate the effectiveness of the FAB group. Review whether the changes made reduced waiting times. Establish if attending the groups impacted upon IPOS (Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale) scores.
Methods We contacted hospices across the UK to determine if a standardised assessment tool to monitor the outcomes of their education groups was used. The majority of the hospices hadn’t used a standardised assessment tool. They had developed their own questionnaire using a Likert scale or visual analogue scale. We created a Likert scale questionnaire that patients would complete at the start and end of each session. We collected IPOS scores pre and post group. The IPOS questions we focused on were shortness of breath, weakness or lack of energy and have you being feeling worried or anxious about your illness or treatment.
Results The results from the questionnaires were positive. On average the post group questionnaire scores were all higher than the pre group scores. There was a significant reduction in waiting times from the date of referral to a person attending their first group by fourteen days. Over the data collection period similar numbers of patients were seen. There were small improvements in the average IPOS scores across all the groups.
Conclusion Attending the FAB group is improving patients’ knowledge around independent symptom management. Due to the nature of palliative conditions we wouldn’t necessarily expect to see a decrease in IPOS score for specific symptoms because symptoms are likely to fluctuate with ongoing treatment, illness or a deterioration in condition. Therefore, it is important that we continue to use non-standardised data collection methods alongside standardised outcome measures.
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