Using Focus Groups to drill down and better understand how to meet a patient's emotional needs
Stanford’s Infusion Units within the Comprehensive Cancer Center are committed to improving the experience of Cancer patients. In response to a focus group conducted with Infusion patients, a course to improve the care delivery by clinical nurses has been developed to advance the communication skills of clinical nurses to address the emotional needs of patients.
Caring Science Framework
Press Ganey surveys provide robust quantitative data about the patient experience; however, there are limitations and barriers to exhaustive explanation or meaningful interpretation of Press Ganey scores. Focus groups have been used to drill down and collect more comprehensive data to better understand and give richer meaning to the quantitative Press Ganey data.
Let's Ask the Patient
In February 2017, a 3-hour focus group was conducted with 5 patients and 1 caregiver that were previously treated in the Infusion Treatment Areas. The focus group discussed 3 Press Ganey items of interest: “Privacy”, “Emotional Needs Addressed”, and “Sensitivity to Needs/Inconveniences.” Participants were asked to describe positive or negative experiences that influence their responses to these items, solutions to problems identified from negative experiences, and the groups’ overall interpretation of themes within the content of the discussion.
Using Qualitative Data to Drive Improvement
From the focus group, it was identified that nurses are rushed in their communication, and they may not have the skills to appropriately address patients’ emotional needs and navigate difficult conversations. In response to the information gathered from the focus groups, a course was developed in collaboration with the Palliative Medicine service utilizing standardized patients and simulated conversations. The course will be delivered for all Oncology Nurses within the Infusion Treatment Areas.
Press Ganey quantitative data alone may not provide a comprehensive understanding of the patient experience. The use of patient and caregiver focus groups offers an inexpensive method for digging deeper into the quantitative data to help health care organizations better understand their patients' needs and experiences.
Kurt David, MS CNS, RN, AOCNS, BMTCN