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Experiences of cancer care in COVID-19: A longitudinal qualitative study

HumanInsight Experiences of cancer care in COVID-19: A longitudinal qualitative study

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2022 Oct 18;61:102228. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2022.102228. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: This study aimed to explore the cancer care experiences of people living with and beyond cancer during COVID-19 in Ireland.

METHODS: The study adopted a longitudinal qualitative design using semi-structured interviews with sixteen participants. Interviews were undertaken on three occasions over six months (January-June 2021). The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer (NCCN DT), and Connor-Davidson-Resilience Scale (CD-RISC2) were also used as part of the interviews to measure distress and resilience. Thematic analysis of interview data was conducted and participants' self-rating for distress and resilience was analysed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS: Sixteen patients participated. The findings revealed participants' constant fear of COVID-19 over time and efforts to stay safe by following the 'rules'. Isolation was a common experience as COVID-19 restrictions resulted in being alone when attending the hospital for treatment and limited support from family and friends. Telephone follow-up was limited in terms of support and patients' opportunity to ask questions. For a minority, COVID-19 restrictions meant they were 'not missing out'. On average, participants reported moderate to high levels of resilience at all time points. Distress scores were low but trended upwards from T1 to T2.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings highlight the need to avoid restrictions on carers accompanying their close relatives to the hospital for treatment. An evaluation of the effects of the rapid introduction of telephone follow-up on patient outcomes is warranted.

PMID:36334337 | DOI:10.1016/j.ejon.2022.102228

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