Patients should be able to participate in decisions about their treatment. Little research has been done into whether personal support can support patients in decision-making during consultations with a medical specialist. Some patients would like the company of a patient coach during these consultations. These patients indicated that they felt tense or did not want to be seen as a nuisance. This thesis describes that patients can be vulnerable in different ways and therefore may be interested in support from a patient coach before, during and after a consultation with a medical specialist. According to patients, doctors and nurses, a patient coach should have medical knowledge and experience in care, and should be intensively trained in coaching skills. An important task of a patient coach is to diminish stress and doubts in a patient. The effects of patient coaching need to be investigated further.
Irène Alders (1961) started her PhD research at the department of Primary and Community Health at the Radboud university medical center in 2014 after a career in the pharmaceutical industry and starting a foundation to train and provide (reimbursed) patient coaches for patients (2009 – 2013). She wants to contribute to the implementation of patient coaches through research and training.