The tablet-based, engagement, assessment, support, and sign-posting (EASSi) tool for facilitating and structuring sexual well-being conversations in routine prostate cancer care : mixed-methods study

McCaughan, Eilís and Flannagan, Carrie and Parahoo, Kader and Connaghan, John and Maguire, Roma and Steele, Mary and Thompson, Samantha and Jain, Suneil and Kirby, Michael and Brady, Nuala and O'Connor, Seán R (2020) The tablet-based, engagement, assessment, support, and sign-posting (EASSi) tool for facilitating and structuring sexual well-being conversations in routine prostate cancer care : mixed-methods study. JMIR Cancer, 6 (2). e20137. ISSN 2369-1999

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    Abstract

    Background: Long-term side-effects associated with different prostate cancer treatment approaches are common. Sexual challenges are the most frequently occurring issues and can result in increased psychological morbidity. It is recognized that barriers to communication can make initiating discussions around sexual concerns in routine practice difficult. Health care professionals need to routinely initiate conversations, effectively engage with patients, and assess needs in order to provide essential support. One proposed method that could support health care professionals to do this involves the use of prompts or structured frameworks to guide conversations. Objective: This study aimed to assess feasibility, acceptability, and satisfaction with the tablet-based Engagement, Assessment, Support, and Sign-posting (EASSi) tool designed to facilitate and structure sexual well-being discussions in routine prostate cancer care. Methods: Health care professionals (n=8) used the EASSi tool during 89 posttreatment appointments. Quantitative data were recorded based on program usage and surveys completed by health care professionals and patients. Qualitative data exploring perceptions on use of the tool were gathered using semistructured interviews with all health care professionals (n=8) and a sample of patients (n=10). Results: Surveys were completed by health care professionals immediately following each appointment (n=89, 100%). Postal surveys were returned by 59 patients (66%). Health care professionals and patients reported that the tool helped facilitate discussions (81/89, 91% and 50/59, 85%, respectively) and that information provided was relevant (82/89, 92% and 50/59, 85%, respectively). The mean conversation duration was 6.01 minutes (SD 2.91). Qualitative synthesis identified the tool’s ability to initiate and structure discussions, improve the “depth” of conversations, and normalize sexual concerns. Conclusions: The EASSi tool was appropriate and acceptable for use in practice and provided a flexible approach to facilitate routine brief conversations and deliver essential sexual well-being support. Further work will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of using the tablet-based tool in prostate cancer care settings.

    ORCID iDs

    McCaughan, Eilís, Flannagan, Carrie, Parahoo, Kader, Connaghan, John ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5558-7986, Maguire, Roma ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7935-3447, Steele, Mary, Thompson, Samantha, Jain, Suneil, Kirby, Michael, Brady, Nuala and O'Connor, Seán R;