Identifying the concerns of women undergoing chemotherapy

Farrell, Carole, Heaven, Cathy, Beaver, Kinta orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6552-2323 and Maguire, Peter (2005) Identifying the concerns of women undergoing chemotherapy. Patient Education and Counseling, 56 (1). pp. 72-77. ISSN 07383991

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This cross-sectional study aimed to identify key concerns of cancer patients receiving in-patient chemotherapy, determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression, and assess whether ward nurses could identify patients' concerns. Thirty-three women on a chemotherapy ward in the northwest of England who had breast, ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer were interviewed using a Concerns Checklist and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Patients expressed an average of 10.3 concerns (range: 2-27). Eighty percent of these were not identified by the nurses, who showed a clear bias towards physical symptoms and treatment-related concerns. The nurses were unable to identify the three main concerns in 70% of patients. Twenty-four percent of patients were found to be probable cases of anxiety and/or depression; there was a moderate correlation between the number of concerns and levels of anxiety and depression. Given the body of evidence that lack of identification of concerns leads to unmet needs, increased psychological distress, dissatisfaction with care and possible complaints, this study has provided clear evidence for the need to address this key area of care, and has highlighted the potential of the Concerns Checklist in busy clinical environments.

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