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Thomas, C.

The need to know: informal carers and information

There is a growing recognition that the carers of cancer patients require information. A key source of this information is the formal health care system that patients, and thus carers, encounter. However, the research literature suggests a lack of clarity on the part of service providers concerning the type, amount, timing and purpose of information for carers. This lack of clarity is reflected in the ways carers have been ‘tacked on’ to patients and thus are often treated as co-clients.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:24

Informal carers in cancer contexts

This paper considers some of the challenges involved in studying informal carers in cancer contexts. It reviews current knowledge by examining, first, the dominant psycho-oncological research tradition that focuses on psychological distress among carers and, second, the more recent sociologically informed body of work examining what carers actually do and the contribution that they make to patient care. The authors suggest that this second sociologically informed approach offers an important counter-weight to the psycho-oncological perspective.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:16

Grouping cancer patients by psychosocial needs

This article describes a study in which a systematic classification of cancer patients was produced on the basis of their needs. A series of 380 cancer patients from four hospitals in the North West of England responded to a self-completion questionnaire that included a 48-item inventory of psychosocial needs covering seven needs domains (information, health professionals, emotional and spiritual, identity, practical, support, and child care). Latent class analysis was used to identify differing patterns of psychosocial need. Four patterns of need were identified.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:15

Place of death: preferences among cancer patients and their carers

The place of death of cancer patients has become an important theme in UK cancer and palliative care policy. This paper examines the place of death preferences of 41 terminally ill cancer patients and 18 of their informal carers, living in the Morecambe Bay area of north-west England. We interviewed cancer patients referred to the research team by 13 specialist palliative care professionals; patients had an estimated 3 months of life remaining.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:12

Cancer and faith. Having faith - does it make a difference among patients and their informal carers

This research considers the impact of having a religious faith on the cancer experience of patients and informal carers, focusing primarily on the association between faith and psychosocial needs. A questionnaire survey of 1000 patients in the north-west of England returned 402 completed questionnaires; around two-thirds of patients indicated they had an informal carer.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:12

The carer's place in the cancer situation: where does the carer stand in the medical setting?

Recent thinking about policy on cancer services in the UK has highlighted the importance of recognising the needs of carers, but is unclear about the ways in which this might be done. Our recent study on the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and their main informal carers was unusual in its combined focus on patients and carers experiencing the ‘cancer journey’ together. One of our aims was to contribute to an understanding of what it means to be the main carer of someone with cancer.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:10

Narrative research methods in palliative care contexts: Two case studies

Narrative methods have played a minor role in research with dying patients to date, and deserve to be more widely understood. This article illustrates the utility and value of these methods through the narrative analysis of semi-structured interview data gathered in a series of interviews with two terminally ill cancer patients and their spouses.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:09

Cancer narratives and methodological uncertainties

This article considers the methodological uncertainties arising in the early months of a research project that involves the secondary data analysis, using narrative analysis methods, of lengthy interview transcripts with cancer patients and their main informal carers. It revisits the particular social contexts, purposes and intentions involved in the creation of the interview transcripts, then considers the new methodological challenges involved.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:09

Companions through cancer: the care given by informal carers in cancer contexts

This paper explores the care-giving experiences of informal carers in cancer contexts, drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data generated in a 3 year study in the UK on the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and their main carers. The study adopted a sociological approach to psychosocial needs, in contrast to dominant psychological and psychiatric perspectives on such needs in psycho-oncology.

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 15:09