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Support Care Cancer. 2017 May;25(5):1621-1627. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-3587-x. Epub 2017 Jan 17.

Early integration of palliative/supportive cancer care-healthcare professionals' perspectives on the support needs of cancer patients and their caregivers across the cancer treatment trajectory.

Author information

1
Medical Department, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200, Berlin, Germany. amyrohrmoser@gmail.com.
2
Medical Department, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12200, Berlin, Germany.
3
Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Invalidenstr. 80, 10115, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Delivering palliative/supportive cancer care (PSCC) early in the course of cancer care can enhance patients' and caregivers' quality of life, reduce anxiety and depression, and prolong patients' lives. However, their support needs are analyzed insufficiently from viewpoints other than their own. The goal of this study was to explore the perspectives of healthcare professionals on desirable standards of support for tumor patients and caregivers across the cancer treatment trajectory. It further aimed at identifying starting points for PSCC to address these needs.

METHODS:

Nine healthcare professionals of varying disciplines in a large German university hospital each participated in one of two focus groups. The qualitative data was analyzed following the grounded theory methodology.

RESULTS:

The healthcare professionals described it as desirable standards that tumor patients and caregivers receive support coping with tasks, accepting the situation, generating strength, feeling trust, and gaining clarity, thus increasing their sense of control. These support needs were seen as important throughout the whole cancer treatment trajectory of tumor patients and their caregivers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Team meetings, supervision, tailored education, and structural improvements may aid healthcare professionals to develop and implement ways to further support patients and caregivers. Also, patients' and caregivers' support needs should be screened regularly, e.g., when treatment phases change. This would complement healthcare professionals' subjective theories of relevant needs during a specific treatment phase.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; Control; Early integration; Healthcare professionals; Palliative care; Support needs

PMID:
28097433
DOI:
10.1007/s00520-017-3587-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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