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

Patient-centered communication is critical to good patient care. Evidence indicates improved participation in decision-making; satisfaction with care and enhanced capacity to cope with cancer and cancer treatments, when patients experience quality communication [1]. Although there is a plethora of literature reporting communication skills training for clinical oncology staff, there is little written about the importance of training non-professional staff who interact daily with cancer patients. Building on a study undertaken at Peter Mac to explore the contribution of oncology, this study sets out to develop brief consumer led communication skills training modules for multidisciplinary cancer clinicians and cancer support staff.

The aim of the study is to offer clinical and support staff a better understanding of the impact of best practice and suboptimal communication on the care experience of patients, their families and carers through learning from their experiences

Two novel consumer led communication skills training resources will be developed. 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.

The project is 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

Ms Catherine Devereux

Project Manager

Phone: (03) 8559 7839

Email: [email protected]