Background Researchers recruiting patients for clinical - non-pharmacological - studies in palliative cancer settings face multiple problems. Patients life expectancy is limited, physical and psychological wellbeing can be volatile and medical treatment tends to be challenging and tiring for patients. Rejection and dropout rates for scientific trials in general are therefore high, especially if concerning advance care planning (ACP).
Aim Recruitment is often assigned to few members of staff who then gain a lot of experience in the matter, formal transition of knowledge can be difficult if
theoretical framework about recruitment; and
practical examples how to handle difficult recruitment conversations; are missing.
To address and overcome b.), we have developed “mini-interventions”. These aim to change perspective of patients on participation in our randomized controlled ACP trial, and can be applied generally.
Results We developed several interventions covering the following topics:
-Misconceptions towards “psychological” support and academic research
-Physical and emotional wellbeing and therefore no need to partake in the trial
-Time constraints, unwillingness to invest more time in “treatment” than necessary
-Fear of burdening care givers with psychological involvement
With these “mini interventions” delegation of recruitment and training of recruitment staff is eased and the recruitment process and success does not rely solely on single experienced staff members.
Conclusion Interventions in recruitment conversations may have several effects, including improvement of patient decision making, increase of recruitment numbers and better transition of knowledge in research teams.
We seek to cross-link with other international groups facing similar challenges concerning recruiting.
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