Young People with Cancer and Hospital Care How can hospital care promote the wellbeing of young people with cancer?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Young People with Cancer and Hospital Care How can hospital care promote the wellbeing of young people with cancer? Background: Adolescent and young adult cancer is known to significantly compromise young people’s wellbeing, their capacity for coping and resilience complicated by their transitional stage in the life course. While improving survival rates represents the primary treatment goal for young people with cancer, good outcomes must also include quality of life through treatment and successful maturation to adulthood for those who survive (NICE, 2005). Objectives: By examining the perspectives of two under-served populations of teenagers and young adults [16-20 and 20-24 years], carers and multi-disciplinary professionals through the stress-resource Sense of Coherence theoretical framework, this doctoral study investigates young people and carer experiences of living with cancer and examines how hospital care can promote young people’s wellbeing throughout the treatment trajectory enhancing strengths and coping resources. Methods: This study adopts a qualitative narrative research design. A series of semi-structured interviews over 6-9 months are conducted with 14 young people currently receiving treatment in adult provision and their primary carers respectively. Young participant interviews utilise visual diagramming including family trees, social network maps and timelines to support active engagement in the interview process while exploring identity, illness, relationship and healthcare narratives. Supplementary single interviews are carried out with 15 multi-disciplinary professionals at different levels of seniority. Results: Findings suggest that successful coping demands the young person make meaning of their experience, manage uncertainty, access personal and social resources, and sustain engagement with everyday life. Communication and relationships are identified as central to effective supportive care, reflecting on the role of multi-disciplinary professionals as active participants in the young person and family’s evolving illness narratives. Conclusion: An increased focus on relationship building, communication and support for young people and their primary carers, both individually and as a family system, is recommended as a prerequisite for optimal hospital care requiring professional skill to enable the young person’s emerging adulthood while welcoming carer involvement. Suzanne Mooney R&D Research Fellow & Systemic Psychotherapist Queens University Belfast and Belfast Health & Social Care Trust s.mooney@qub.ac.uk Suzanne Mooney is a social worker and systemic family psychotherapist with 20 years experience working with vulnerable young people and families in a wide range of contexts, including young people with cancer, and child, adolescent and adult mental health settings. Suzanne is currently a research fellow on secondment from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust to Queens University Belfast to undertake this doctoral social research study. This study is funded by the N. Ireland Research and Development Office, Public Health Agency.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 07 Feb 2013
EventIrish Association for Palliative Care Annual Education and Research Conference - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 07 Feb 201307 Feb 2013

Conference

ConferenceIrish Association for Palliative Care Annual Education and Research Conference
CountryIreland
CityDublin
Period07/02/201307/02/2013

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