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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2013 Nov;40(6):E393-402. doi: 10.1188/13.ONF.E393-E402.

Healthcare professionals' response to cachexia in advanced cancer: a qualitative study.

Author information

1
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom.

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To explore healthcare professionals' experience, understanding, and perception of the needs of patients with cachexia in advanced cancer.

RESEARCH APPROACH:

A qualitative approach based on symbolic interactionism.

SETTING:

A regional cancer center in a large teaching hospital in the United Kingdom.

PARTICIPANTS:

34 healthcare professionals who had experience providing care to patients with cachexia in advanced cancer.

METHODOLOGIC APPROACH:

Data collection consisted of two phases: focus group and semistructured interviews. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim for analysis. This article reports on findings from the second phase of data collection.

FINDINGS:

Analysis revealed that professional approaches to cachexia were influenced by three overarching and interthinking themes: knowledge, culture, and resources. Healthcare professionals commonly recognized the impact of the syndrome; however, for nonpalliative healthcare professionals, a culture of avoidance and an overreliance on the biomedical model of care had considerable influence on the management of cachexia in patients with advanced cancer.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cachexia management in patients with advanced cancer can be difficult and is directed by a variable combination of the influence of knowledge, culture of the clinical area, and available resources. Distinct differences exist in the management of cachexia among palliative and nonpalliative care professionals.

INTERPRETATION:

This study presented a multiprofessional perspective on the management of cachexia in patients with advanced cancer and revealed that cachexia is a complex and challenging syndrome that needs to be addressed from a holistic model of care.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION:

Cachexia management in patients with advanced cancer is complex and challenging and is directed by a combination of variables. An overreliance on the biomedical model of health and illness occurs in the management of cachexia in patients with advanced cancer. Cachexia needs to be addressed from a holistic model of care to reflect the multidimensional needs of patients and their families.

PMID:
24161643
DOI:
10.1188/13.ONF.E393-E402
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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