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The Role Of Effective Radiation Therapist–Patient Communication In Alleviating Treatment-Related Pain And Procedural Discomfort During Radiotherapy

Authors Mattarozzi K, Fino E, Panni V, Agostini A, Morganti AG, Russo PM

Received 6 May 2019

Accepted for publication 14 August 2019

Published 30 October 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 1861—1865

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S214375

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Nicola Ludin

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen


Katia Mattarozzi, Edita Fino, Valeria Panni, Alessandro Agostini, Alessio G Morganti, Paolo Maria Russo

Department of Experimental, Diagnostic, and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Correspondence: Alessandro Agostini
Department of Experimental, Diagnostic, and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, 5 Viale Berti Pichat, Bologna 40127, Italy
Tel +39 051 209 1341
Fax +39051243086
Email alessandro.agostin11@unibo.it

Purpose: Managing radiotherapy (RT)-induced pain is essential for reducing the likelihood of treatment interruption and improving the chance of tumor control. The current study aimed to examine the role of radiation therapist (RTTs) interaction and effective information communication in modulating patients’ experiences of pain and discomfort during RT.
Methods: Participants were 91 cancer patients undergoing RT for the first time referred to the Radiotherapy Unit of Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital in Bologna, Italy. Patient-reported outcome measures included patient satisfaction with the quality of the relationship and the information received by the RTTs, assessed by the Communication with RTTs — Shortened, scale, and pain and discomfort experienced during RT, assessed through two VAS scales. Attitudes toward RT were also assessed. All measures were collected as patients were approximately halfway through the overall RT duration (on average at the end of the 12th session).
Results: Patient satisfaction with RTT relationships and treatment-information communication was significantly related to RT-induced pain intensity and patient attitudes toward RT. The more satisfied patients were with RTT interactions and communication, the more positive their attitudes were toward RT and the lower the pain intensity experienced during treatment.
Conclusion: Clinical implications can be drawn in terms of highlighting the need for RTTs to be mindful of their technical and supportive role in delivery of patient care and in structuring treatment information content in a way that contrasts potential nocebo effects related to patients’ negative expectations about RT. The findings support the idea that RTTs may benefit from training interventions and structured education sessions with a focus on interpersonal skills and patient-centered communication.

Keywords: radiotherapy, experiences of pain, information, communication

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