Cancer support services: Are they meeting the needs of rural radiotherapy patients?
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd This paper examines the supportive care in place to meet the needs of patients receiving radiotherapy at a regional oncology service in Bunbury, Western Australia. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with 21 service providers and 17 adults diagnosed with cancer who underwent radiotherapy at the Service were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Key themes relevant were co-operation and collaboration of interdisciplinary team members; support from organisations to assist with accommodation, transport, emotional support and provision of practical assistance, as well as barriers to accessing support. Most participants were positive about the support available, recognising the needs of rural radiotherapy patients for assistance with travel, accommodation and psychosocial support to help deal with the stressors they face. Collaboration between the various service providers maximised the support available to patients but the drop off in psychosocial support once the intensity of treatment was completed was identified as a weakness in the support available. The support system, established around a regional radiotherapy service, was enhanced by the collaborative professional relationships developed among service providers. The service extends beyond clinical service delivery by recognising financial, logistical and psychosocial support needs, factors to be considered to ensure rural radiotherapy patients are provided with holistic care.
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