A Randomized Controlled Trial of Storytelling as a Communication Tool.

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Introduction Stories may be an effective tool to communicate with patients because of their ability to engage the reader. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of story booklets compared to standard information sheets for parents of children attending the emergency department (ED) with a child with croup. Methods Parents were randomized to receive story booklets (n=208) or standard information sheets (n=205) during their ED visit. The primary outcome was change in anxiety between triage to ED discharge as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Follow-up telephone interviews were conducted at 1 and 3 days after discharge, then every other day until 9 days (or until resolution of symptoms), and at 1 year. Secondary outcomes included: expected future anxiety, event impact, parental knowledge, satisfaction, decision regret, healthcare utilization, time to symptom resolution. Results There was no significant difference in the primary outcome of change in parental anxiety between recruitment and ED discharge (change of 5 points for the story group vs. 6 points for the comparison group, p=0.78). The story group showed significantly greater decision regret regarding their decision to go to the ED (p<0.001): 6.7% of the story group vs. 1.5% of the comparison group strongly disagreed with the statement “I would go for the same choice if I had to do it over again”. The story group reported shorter time to resolution of symptoms (mean 3.7 days story group vs. 4.0 days comparison group, median 3 days both groups; log rank test, p=0.04). No other outcomes were different between study groups. Conclusions Stories about parent experiences managing a child with croup did not reduce parental anxiety. The story group showed significantly greater decision regret and quicker time to resolution of symptoms. Further research is needed to better understand whether stories can be effective in improving patient-important outcomes.

  • Date created
    2013
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3P843Z80
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Hartling, L., Scott, S. D., Johnson, D. W., Bishop, T., & Klassen, T. P. (2013). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Storytelling as a Communication Tool. PLoS One, 8(10), e77800. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077800.