COACH: Consumer-led communication skills modules for cancer healthcare workers

Patient-centered communication is critical to good patient care. Patients who experience quality communications are better engaged in decision-making about their care and treatment, have greater satisfaction with their care, and have better capacity to cope with cancer and cancer treatments [1]. Although there have been  many studies that have confirmed the importance of communication skills training for clinical oncology staff, there has been very little focus on supporting better communication practices of non-clinical staff who also interact daily with cancer patients.

The aim of this project was to give clinical and support staff a better understanding of the impact of best practice and suboptimal communication on the care experiences of patients, their families and carers through learning from their stories. We developed two novel consumer led communication skills training resources drawing on best-practice principles from patient co-design methodology, extracts from patient interviews and videos of patients describing positive and unhelpful communication interactions, will form the content of the resources. These videos are now available to staff within the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

This project was a collaboration between the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Women’s Hospital, The Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital, and the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Victoria.

This study is now complete. Find out about the list of the COACH resources here.


  1. Jones R, Regan M, Ristevski E, Breen S. Patients' perception of communication with clinicians during screening and discussion of cancer supportive care needs. Patient Educ Couns. 2011 85(3):e209-15.


Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre


Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

Principal Investigator/s

Professor Mei Krishnasamy

Contact details

Prof Mei Krishnasamy

Chair in Cancer Nursing I Department of Nursing

University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research

VCCC Research and Education Lead - Cancer Nursing

Email: [email protected]