A communication training for persons with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases – a formative evaluation

  • A.C. Schöpf
  • M. Schlöffel
  • T. Amos
  • A. Thyrolf
  • J. Lamprecht
  • W. Mau
  • E. Farin-Glattacker


Background: As persons with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) frequently experience problems in disease-related communication, we developed a training (“KOKOS-Rheuma”) to enhance their communication skills in various everyday situations. The aim of this study is to improve the intervention using results of a formative evaluation. The project is funded by the Deutsche Rheuma-Liga Bundesverband e.V. Methods: KOKOS-Rheuma consists of two modules which were conducted as two half-days or one full-day course. It was intended that the trainers were trained lay persons in order to improve implementation. Some training courses were observed by a researcher. The participants, trainers and observers completed an evaluation sheet after each module or the full-day course. The evaluation is based on N = 114 participant evaluation sheets for Module 1, N=82 for Module 2 and N=36 for the full-day course. Findings: The training program was positively evaluated by participants, trainers and observers. Participants who believed that the training will change their behaviour, most commonly stated that there will be an influence on their ‘preparation of conversations’, ‘saying No’, ‘arguing’ and ‘reflection of conversations’. In addition to suggestions to improve the training, the evaluation also illustrated a number of issues regarding trainer skills and their preparation. Discussion: Based on the positive evaluation, the training can be recommended after some improvements. We will more clearly arrange the trainer manual, add advice for a good preparation and simplify some sections. This also addresses the comments of the participants that some parts of the training were too long and theoretical.
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