Patient empowerment in urology – the interprofessional approach

In 1998 the WHO defined an empowerment initiative to support patients, vulnerable groups and give direction for health professionals. Empowering in health promotion is defined by the WHO as “(…) a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health,“ (WHO, 1998).

At present, nurses and urologist are still working towards realising the empowerment strategy of the WHO. Implementing a patient-centred pathway is only possible when we as health care professionals know the individual needs of our patients. But how does that work?

Two approaches are necessary. On the one hand, researchers have to perform phenomenological studies to understand patients’ experiences with urological illnesses. On the other hand, opportunities for inter-professional communication, among urologists, nurses, psychologists, social workers etc., support empathy for each profession. With these two approaches health professionals can indirectly empower patients through adapting care pathways. Direct patient empowerment can be performed, for example, through the development of a website where evidence-based illness information is available.

The EAU adopted this strategy to create an interprofessional working group, called “Patient Information“ in 2012 to promote need-oriented patient information. The website (http://patients. is accessible for patients and health professionals who are looking for resources to support their patients.

As a Clinical Nurse Specialist for patients with prostate cancer I feel privileged to be part of this inter-professional working group and to improve the care offered to patients with urological illness. During the past years the working group, beside other topics, has created information leaflets, posters about urinary incontinence, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, erectile dysfunction, kidney ureteral stones, nocturia, benign prostatic enlargement and overactive bladder syndrome. The information is based on EAU and EAUN guidelines and prepared for use in all European countries rather than to one specific country or system.

More information including animated videos is planned in the coming months and will soon cover all topics addressed in our guidelines. How to navigate the website and the patient information in clinical settings will be discussed at the Patient Information Special Session at the Annual EAU Congress next year in London.

Franziska Geese, Advanced Practice Nurse, University Hospital Berne, Inselspital, Dept. of Urology, Berne (CH),

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bach, Chairman Patient Information Group, Asklepios Klinik Harburg, Dept. of Urology, Hamburg (DE),