Getting to know oncology inpatients and their families: A continuous quality improvement approach

Gail M. Macartney, Gail Stone, Catherine E. De Grasse, Margaret B. Harrison, Ian D. Graham


Given the overall magnitude of cancer, a climate of stretched health care resources, and the political activism of cancer survivors and families, it is becoming increasingly clear that local service providers need to assess and reassess the care they provide. Aqualitative design was used to seek the patient and family's perspectives on whether or not their needs were being met while in hospital. Direct feedback from a convenience sample of 19 oncology patients and families was elicited through a semi-structured interview.

Qualitative data analysis revealed eight important aspects of care for oncology patients and their families. These included: communication between patients and caregivers, caregiver availability and concerns about health care cutbacks, coordination and continuity of care, physical care and comfort, psychosocial care, caregiver sensitivity, caregiver competence, and the physical environment of the hospital.

Challenges faced by individuals and their families affected by cancer are highlighted as they navigate through our health care system. Respondents provide positive reinforcement for use of appropriate interventions by caregivers, while clearly outlining areas needing improvement.

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