Clear communication between patients and health care professionals is essential, especially when a patient is faced with a life-changing diagnosis such as cirrhosis. Researchers led by Dr Joseph Low, at the University College London worked with the British Liver Trust and other patient groups to develop and pilot a question prompt list for patients with cirrhosis to use when they are at their hospital out patient clinic.
Published in the peer reviewed journal, Clinical Gastroenterology, the study has developed a list of 22 questions that patients with cirrhosis can use as a helpful prompt in outpatient appointments with their clinician.
The questions, which cover a range of issues from work and travel to life expectancy, were chosen after consulting a multidisciplinary team of experts, including 133 patients.
Rebecca West, Liver Nurse Manager at the British Liver Trust, says: “Liver patients often call our helpline with questions they wish they’d asked their doctor. It’s common to feel apprehensive or anxious ahead of an appointment with a doctor or consultant, which makes it hard to prepare.
“Having a comprehensive list of questions to hand to ask their clinician will enable cirrhosis patients to leave their appointment well informed and empowered to make important decisions about their future.”
Dr Joe Low, Principal Research Fellow at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department, University College London, says: “It was great to collaborate with the British Liver Trust on this study, the results of which will improve communication clinicians and patients, particularly those who have been recently diagnosed.”
The British Liver Trust has published a handy list of questions for all liver patients to ask in a doctor’s appointment. The questions from this study have been incorporated into the questions for people with cirrhosis.
You can read the full research report here:Improving Communication in Outpatient Consultations in People With Cirrhosis.