A call to action: The need for improved service coordination during early survivorship for women with breast cancer and partners
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© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis. Survivorship is an under-recognized period in the care of women with breast cancer. This paper aimed to determine if supports provided by health services were adequate in meeting the expressed needs of women and partners during survivorship. A mixed-method study consisted of: (1) in-depth interviews with women (n = 18) and partners (n = 8) (completed June 2014–November 2014) and (2) a questionnaire with health providers (n = 34) (completed April 2015) regarding services offered, needs addressed, and barriers to service delivery. Both were completed in Perth, Western Australia. Findings were determined using thematic analysis and descriptive statistics. Many unmet needs were identified by women and partners, including: pain, fatigue, fear of recurrence, employment, leisure, and social and intimacy difficulties. Participants did not receive a formal plan to assist them. Health providers reported a range of supports, including cancer surveillance and management of physical, psychological, emotional, and relationship concerns. However, many barriers concerning service delivery were identified. Despite services reporting that they provided various supports, interview participants did not appear to use and benefit from these. Coordination of service delivery was identified as requiring improvement. The use of survivorship care plans also needs refinement to determine suitability for use during survivorship.
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