The need for enhanced psychological support in esophageal cancer-an exploratory study of the perception of HCPs, patients, and carers

L Graham-Wisener, L Collins, J Hanna, M Dempster

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Abstract

Esophageal cancer patients and carers report significant levels of psychological distress. Despite this, only a small number of patients and carers engage with existing psychological services. This study aims to explore the perception of esophageal cancer patients, carers, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) of psychological distress and current provision of support, the need for and format of tailored support and barriers to patient/carer engagement. Semistructured interviews were undertaken with n = 14 esophageal cancer patients, carers, and HCPs. Directed content analysis was utilized to code the transcripts according to the preconceived categories as defined by study aim. Participants reported key periods for heightened distress around diagnosis and postsurgery on discharge from hospital. Provision of existing support was not felt to be adequate. A number of patient/carer barriers to engaging with support were identified in addition to HCP barriers. Participants perceived enhanced psychological support as a priority supportive care need with a number of recommendations for tailoring existing support services more adequately to the clinical population. With reports of heightened psychological morbidity yet with few esophageal cancer patients engaging with psychological services, there is an impetus to develop detailed care pathways to facilitate meeting this prioritized support need.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Early online date16 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 16 Aug 2018

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