Young People with Cancer and Hospital Care: ‘It’s a whole different world’

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Young People with Cancer and Hospital Care: ‘It’s a whole different world’
Background: Young people with cancer are recognised as a vulnerable patient cohort whose wellbeing is compromised by the dual crisis of life-threatening illness at a critical transitional life stage. Currently cared for in both paediatric and adult healthcare settings, little is known about young people’s needs or the constituents of age-appropriate healthcare.
Aims and Objectives: This study examines young people’s experience of cancer and healthcare provision, investigating how hospital care can promote wellbeing, enhancing strengths and coping resources.
Methods: Having successfully gained ethical approval, this doctoral study applies a qualitative narrative design to explore the perspectives of two populations of teenagers and young adults [TYAs: 16-19, 20-24 years], carers and multi-disciplinary professionals. A series of three semi-structured interviews over 9-12 months are conducted with 14 young people receiving treatment in adult provision and their primary carers. Supplementary single interviews are carried out with 15 multi-disciplinary hospital professionals. Thematic analysis has been undertaken using MAXQDA.
Findings: Supportive relationships and inclusive communication processes with young people and their families are identified as central components of wellbeing-promoting hospital care enabling TYAs find meaning in their experience, manage uncertainty, access resources, sustain treatment and remain engaged in every-day life. Multi-disciplinary professionals are confirmed as active participants in the young person and family’s evolving illness narratives with the potential to contribute positively to their wellbeing.
Conclusions and implications: An increased focus on relationship-building, communication and strength-orientated support for young people and their primary carers, both individually and as a family system, is recommended as a prerequisite for optimal age-appropriate hospital care which can support the young person’s emerging adulthood while welcoming carer involvement. Greater inter-disciplinary collaboration is required with all professionals understanding the importance and implementation of their respective role in promoting TYA and carer wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2013
Event14th Trinity Interdisciplinary Healthcare Conference: Trinity College Dublin - Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 06 Nov 201306 Nov 2013


Conference14th Trinity Interdisciplinary Healthcare Conference


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