Article Text

Download PDFPDF
O-10 The walnut communication programme –meeting the communication and health literacy needs of men living with prostate cancer
  1. Tina Smith1,2
  1. 1Hospice of St Francis, Berkhamsted, UK
  2. 2Peace Hospice Care


Introduction Men with prostate cancer often find it difficult to discuss aspects of their condition. Issues of continence, body image, relationships and future care can be difficult to broach (Bloch et al. 2007, Bylund et al. 2011). This programme is part of the Back in the Driving Seat collaborative self-management project between two Hospices. This innovative approach uses interactive role play and reflection to encourage open communication.


  • To reach men who would not usually access Hospice support

  • To assist men in developing communication skills

  • To empower men to have difficult conversations

Method To promote the service, posters were distributed within primary and secondary care and articles were placed in the local press. All the men self-referred and were not previously known to the Hospice.

Prior to a two hour workshop, the men meet with the prostate cancer specialist nurse to discuss their concerns and these form the basis of the role play scenarios.

The workshop is a mixture of role play and reflection. Blocks and barriers to effective communication are studied; actors play out the scenarios which are guided by the men. The programme is delivered in standalone workshops and is also incorporated into a 6 week Prostate Cancer Wellbeing Course. A Train the Trainer DVD has been developed which can be used by other services.

Results Two evaluation tools were used; Measure Your Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) and a local evaluation tool. The results were extremely positive: 83% reported an improvement in their level of concerns and wellbeing, 100% recommended the programme to others and 75% went on to access other services within the Hospice. To capture qualitative data the men had an opportunity to share their thoughts; many reported they found talking about intimate issues difficult and welcomed the opportunity to explore this. Experience sharing with those in similar situations was reported as one of the best aspects of the programme.

Conclusion Working innovatively and collaboratively has enabled us to reach men who would not usually access Hospice support and as a result have improved their wellbeing and skills in communication.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.