The psychosocial support needs of people affected by cancer: a comparative study of patient and carer experience in a rural setting

Nelson, David, Pascal, Jan, Kane, Ros, Mcgonagle, Ian, Kenny, Amanda, Dickson-Swift, Virginia and Sagan, Olivia (2017) The psychosocial support needs of people affected by cancer: a comparative study of patient and carer experience in a rural setting. In: International Psyco-Oncology Society (IPOS) Conference, 18th August 2017, The Free University of Berlin.

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Abstract

Background: People affected by cancer (PABC) continue to experience a range of unmet psychosocial needs. Our research indicates that the rural setting exacerbates those needs as a result of geographic and service-delivery challenges.

Methods: Our research draws on qualitative data from rural Victoria, Australia (n=19) and the rural English county of Lincolnshire (n=20). In-depth interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. All data were collated and analysed thematically. Participants were PABC at various stages of the cancer trajectory and included carers of those in receipt of palliative care.

Results: There were consistencies in the findings from both England and Australia studies. Psychosocial care is often provided informally by friends and family with many participants not receiving any professional psychosocial care. Partners and family were a common source of emotional and practical support. Both studies raised concerns about access and awareness of psychosocial support services. The rural setting meant participants often had to travel long distances to receive care and this constituted an emotional, practical and financial burden. Notably, the presence of the charitable organisation, Macmillan Cancer Support in England went some way to meeting some of the patients' psychosocial needs.

Conclusions: The results have implications for the long-term well-being of PABC in rural areas and for partners, family members and health professionals working with people living with cancer and their carers.

Keywords:Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer), psychosocial, rural, Survivorship, Carers, England, Australia, qualitative research
Subjects:A Medicine and Dentistry > A900 Others in Medicine and Dentistry
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
B Subjects allied to Medicine > B700 Nursing
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
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ID Code:28671
Deposited On:02 Oct 2017 15:26

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