Macmillan Cancer Support’s report Move More states that getting active can help people affected by cancer to overcome the effects of the disease and its treatment, such as fatigue and weight gain. Traditionally cancer patients were told to rest after their treatment, however, more recent evidence suggests that physical activity is very important to the survival and recovery process.
Macmillan developed the Move More pack and pedometer for helping people affected by cancer to get active. This is based on proven behaviour change methods used in the Let’s Get Moving pack. Informal feedback from people on the expert patient programme was positive; however Macmillan wished to use a data gathering exercise to examine whether the resources are indeed leading to behaviour change.
Make Sport Fun were commissioned by Macmillan to undertake some market research to determine whether the usefulness of these packs to identify whether they were fit for purpose and how the packs were being received by both patients and healthcare professionals.
- To check that the Move More pack and pedometers are worth investing in, for the benefit of internal Macmillan teams and for external partners.
- To gather information about how they work best so they can promote that process to health professionals.
To identify what else needs developing to support the delivery and use of the Get Active Feel Good pack.
What we did
We ran a programme of qualitative and quantitative research with patients and healthcare professionals to examine the effectiveness of the packs and pedometers, with particular emphasis on behaviour change. In brief, the methodology comprises three separate stages:
Stage one: Qualitative interviews
Semi-structured telephone interviews that followed approved topic guides were conducted with:
- 20 patients who requested a copy of the Get Active Feel Good pack.
- 20 healthcare professionals who requested a copy of the pack.
- 10 healthcare professionals who ordered a pedometer.
The interviews were audio recorded with the permission of participants and the recording were then transcribed.
Stage two: Quantitative survey
Using the feedback from the qualitative interviews, a more structured survey was designed with predominantly closed questions. The survey included a small number of open ended questions for qualitative comments. There were two separate surveys for patients and healthcare professionals.
The questionnaires were set up online and an email was sent inviting patients and healthcare professionals to complete the survey. The email contained a link to the appropriate questionnaire.
A telephone survey was then conducted to augment the number of surveys completed online.
- 67 healthcare professionals completed the survey either online or on the telephone.
- 40 patients completed the survey either online or on the telephone.
Stage three: Analysis and reporting.
A report was compiled with the results from the quantitative and qualitative research.
The findings from our research were positive. We were able to give Macmillan some great insights as to which parts of the pack were the most effective and further information on what further help both patients and staff would find useful.
Key results included:
- Patients who were worried about how they will be affected by being more active receive re-assurance from the pack that this is okay. The majority (81%) of patients who had concerns said that the pack helped them to overcome their anxieties.
- Patients were encouraged to take responsibility for their own recovery, and the pack helps them to do this.
- Virtually all healthcare professionals who completed the quantitative survey (93%) said that Macmillan is right to invest in the pack.
- Professionals agreed that the pack helped them to have a conversation with patients about the benefits of being active.
- Professionals appreciate the fact that the pack does not refer to exercise, but focuses on activity. They see this as a better message to convey.
- Healthcare professionals generally felt that an online version of the pack would be useful for some patients, but would not be used by all. The younger and computer literate were seen as more receptive. It was felt that these resources were perhaps more cost effective than the hard copy.
- All professionals felt that the links with search tools would be a valuable resource. Some had already said that this was something that would be good to include in the pack itself; however they did all understand that this was not possible.
As a result of this research Macmillan were able to identify that the packs were a success, and therefore did another print run of over 10,000 extra packs. Macmillan have also implemented the suggestions from this market research into how they deliver and promote the packs.
To order a copy of the Move More pack go to http://bit.ly/15JvwUP.