Information Could Help Ease Distress in Cancer Patients

Benefits of intervention with library, nurse in cancer centers didn't reach significance

MONDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- A structured system of providing information to cancer patients showed some signs of reducing their psychological distress, according to research published online March 9 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Rodolfo Passalacqua, M.D., of the Instituti Ospitalieri in Cremona, Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from 38 Italian cancer centers that were randomized to either serve as controls, or to begin a Point of Information and Support (PIS), which contained a library in the outpatient area with a specially trained nurse for a certain number of hours each week. The researchers surveyed 3,286 patients on their psychological distress and satisfaction with information received.

More than half of the experimental centers did not follow protocol, the authors note. Per-protocol analysis, only using centers with a functioning PIS, the researchers found less psychological distress and dissatisfaction in the centers with a PIS compared to controls, but at a non-significant level. Staff conflicts were a major hindrance to PIS implementation, the report indicates.

"In conclusion, our findings confirm the need for an accurate context analysis preceding interventions aiming to change behavior and for the adoption of measures to encourage compliance with the interventions. The introduction of an organization modality for providing information to patients could, in fact, be favored by making its characteristics less rigid, avoiding strict predefined requirements (such as hours of activity per day, modes of access, number of nurses assigned to it, and so on)," the authors write.

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