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The “sphere of care”: A qualitative study of colorectal cancer patient and caregiver experiences of support within the cancer treatment setting

By Eleanor Law (6157547), Janelle V. Levesque (776627), Sylvie Lambert (544365) and Afaf Girgis (5707721)

Abstract

<div><p>Introduction</p><p>Colorectal cancer is associated with considerable physical and psychosocial burden. Whilst social support is known to facilitate psychological adjustment to cancer, patients’ and caregivers’ experiences of social support within a treatment setting and their perceptions of the role of the treating team in providing this support is unknown. Specifically, there is a gap in the research that explores in detail who people affected by colorectal cancer consider to be supportive, and the function, timing and nature of this support, whilst receiving treatment. This study explored both patients’ and caregivers’ a) experiences of social support and how this relates to their experience of treatment; and b) what facilitates support in the treatment setting.</p><p>Methods</p><p>Individual interviews (N = 20) were conducted with patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer and caregivers of such patients. Audiotaped interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using the framework method.</p><p>Results</p><p>Three major themes emerged from the data: a) treating team as a source of support, highlighting the importance of connection with the treating team; b) changes in existing social supports, encompassing issues regarding distance in interpersonal relationships as a consequence of cancer; and c) differing dimensions of support, exploring the significance of shared experience, practical, financial, and emotional support.</p><p>Conclusions</p><p>Patients and caregivers perceived the treating team as a major source of support. Support from the treating team was particularly important in the context of the changes that occur as a result of a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and the effects of subsequent treatment. Incidental support from others encountered in the treatment setting was also experienced and was equally important to both patients and caregivers. This has implications for the way health care professionals respond to both patients and caregivers in the treatment setting in terms of communication, interventions and environment.</p></div

Topics: Molecular Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Ecology, Cancer, Mental Health, Infectious Diseases, caregiver, colorectal cancer patient, way health care professionals, colorectal cancer, Introduction Colorectal cancer
Year: 2018
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0209436
OAI identifier: oai:figshare.com:article/7522637
Provided by: FigShare
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