CoPreP study: Co-designing a Prehabilitation Program to improve experiences for men with prostate cancer

Dr Clarice Tang1,3, Ms Monica Turczyniak1, Ms  Alesha Sayner1, Ms Sally Butzkueven1, Dr  Kimberley Haines1, Dr  John Violet2, Dr Helen O’Connell2

1Western Health, St Albans, Australia, 2Peter MacCallum, Melbourne, Australia, 3Western Sydney University, Penrith, Australia


Engaging patients in a prehabilitation program that is implemented prior to commencement of cancer treatment is a known challenge. Utilising experience-based co-design (EBCD) methodology, this study aimed to explore the prostate cancer (PCa) treatment journey from the perspectives of the patient and health professionals. It also aimed to develop a prehabilitation program for patients receiving treatment for PCa in collaboration with both patients and health professionals.


Patients, support persons and health professionals were selectively identified and recruited from a metropolitan health service in Melbourne. Selection criteria included i) recent clinical/patient experience with PCa treatment at the recruitment site, ii) willingness to participate in two 2-hour face-to-face workshops and iii) having both positive experiences and challenges to share during the workshops. Findings from these workshops were thematically analysed to identify key themes addressing aims of the study.


Twenty participants including eight patients, one support person and 11 health professionals were recruited. All participants acknowledged that staff were highly experienced and had positive interactions between patients and health professionals. The most common challenge identified was the lack of a structured and sustainable approach in identifying and preparing patients for PCa treatment. Participants also stated a lack of emotional support after being diagnosed with PCa. All participants were agreed that a structured prehabilitation program would be beneficial. Practical ideas included timing of program implementation post diagnosis, content (including topics for education), strategies to boost engagement including location and use of a health coach, and social interaction opportunities were clearly identified from the data.


The EBCD process provided a valuable opportunity for patients and health professionals to collaborate in prehabilitation program design. A pilot study is currently under way to evaluate the effectiveness of such a prehabilitation program in improving patient engagement and preparedness for PCa treatment.


Monica Turczyniak is a cardiorespiratory physiotherapist who has worked across the care continuum within Western Health and has recently focused her work in the area of acute Oncology and Radiotherapy.  She is the key project officer for this Co-design project. In combination with her clinical experience, she has a strong interest in improving patient outcomes for people undergoing cancer treatment

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