Send to

Choose Destination
Psychooncology. 2019 Jan;28(1):154-159. doi: 10.1002/pon.4925. Epub 2018 Nov 8.

Next of kin's motives for psychosocial consultation-Oncology social workers' perceptions of 54 next of kin cases.

Author information

Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Department of Radiation Sciences-Oncology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.



Although oncology social workers (OSWs) have emerged as a core profession in the provision of psychosocial services, there is a lack of empirical studies that describe their daily clinical work with next of kin (NOK). The overall aim of this study was to explore NOK's motives for consulting an OSW. This can provide us with insights into what types of skills OSWs need to have in order to fulfil their duties.


From a nationwide survey, we used data from 54 NOK cases that Swedish OSWs met face to face.


About half of the motives concerned help in dealing with personal grief connected to the patients' cancer and distressing symptoms, while the other half concerned needs for help in dealing with the position of being the NOK, relationship conflicts, and assistance with socio-economic issues.


The motives show that NOK does not just ask for help to come to terms with distress related to the patient's situation. Based on the diversity of motives, we suggest that OSWs (at least in Sweden) need a broad education in counselling psychology. Furthermore, health care personnel need to be attentive to the NOK's own voice and not reduce it to the voice of the patient and the patient's needs in referrals.


cancer; counselling; next of kin's motives; oncology; oncology social workers


Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center