Impact of counselling on quality of life and sleep in cancer patients

Michael Matthews, Marie Glackin, Caroline Hughes, Katherine MA Rogers

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It has been acknowledged that poor quality of sleep significantly correlates with poor quality of life; evidence suggests that counselling has a positive impact not only on the cancer patient's quality of life, but also on family members and friends. The aim of this service evaluation was to determine if there was an improvement in clients’ quality of life and sleep patterns following counselling as offered by a local cancer charity. A total of 60 matched pre- and post-counselling questionnaires were completed and subjected to statistical analysis. When considering quality of life, in the domains of Role Emotional, Mental Health and Mental Component Summary Score, it can be concluded that counselling has a positive effect on emotional health and mental wellbeing. The mean total number of hours sleep per night significantly increased from 6 hours sleep per night at baseline to 6.8 hours sleep per night at the completion of counselling (p=0.005) showing clients gained an extra 48 minutes sleep per night. The improved emotional and mental wellbeing alongside the extra 48 minutes sleep per night provides evidence that there is a positive outcome for those patients and families who use counselling services. Nurses and other members of the multidisciplinary team should be encouraged to discuss supportive therapies with patients and those affected by cancer at all stages of the cancer trajectory, regardless of social status, gender or cancer type.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S11-S16
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue numberSup10
Publication statusEarly online date - 23 May 2014

Bibliographical note

This paper was based on part of the MSc dissertation by Michael Matthews. Michael was jointly supervised by M. Glackin and K. Rogers from QUB and Caroline Hughes from Action Cancer. The data analysed in the dissertation and discussed in this paper was from a service evaluation by Action Cancer. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between M. Glackin, K. Rogers and Action Cancer.


  • Counselling
  • Quality of life
  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Quality of sleep


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