The CHOICE Project

Choices for care if faced with serious illness

Despite growing evidence for the benefits of early integration of palliative care in the setting of advanced cancer, late engagement with palliative care services remains common. This project used an online, phase II, crossover randomised controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary impact of using visual educational stories to communicate information about palliative care and improve community engagement. 421 community members were recruited and the narrative communication intervention was shown to be acceptable, with community participants reporting a median of 7 positive ratings out of 10 acceptability items. A majority agreed the intervention was easy to understand (98%), believable (89%), taught them something new (75%), and made them feel more likely to consider palliative care if they became seriously ill (74%). Following the intervention there was a significant improvement in attitudes to palliative care, regardless of which narrative participants saw, compared to baseline.

Results demonstrated significant opportunities remain to improve community understanding of palliative care, with 88% of participants reporting at least one misconception. A narrative approach to public health communication was shown to be widely acceptable, and significantly improved attitudes to engagement with palliative care. These empirical data can directly inform future evidence-based, public health approaches to improve community engagement with palliative care.

Current status:

Completed.

Publications:

Collins A, McLachlan SA, & Philip J. The CHOICE Project: Developing an Educational Public Health Intervention to Inform Community Attitudes to Palliative Care. Palliative Medicine 2018 31(1): 56.

For more information contact:

Study coordinator Anna Collins, St Vincents Hospital (Anna.Collins@svha.org.au)