Identifying Caregivers and Their Meaning for Patients with Metastatic Solid Tumours in Routine Care: A Survey at a Community-Based Oncology Group Practice in Germany

Rudolf Weide, Stefan Feiten, Vera Friesenhahn, Jochen Heymanns, Kristina Kleboth, Ulrike Mergenthaler, Jörg Thomalla, Christoph van Roye, Hubert Köppler


Purpose: To determine the importance of different contact persons for patients with metastatic solid tumours treated in a community-based oncology group practice. Methods: Psychosocial distress was measured between 04-07/2009 using the distress thermometer and problem list. All patients were asked 3 questions: To whom do you talk, when you are distressed? Which persons are helpful to reduce your distress? How did helpful persons help you? Results: 202 patients with a median age of 68 years (37-85) completed the interview. Most important contact persons named by patients were: oncologist (84%), partner (71%), children (64%), friends (53%) and general practitioner (52%). The most helpful persons were oncologist (97%), friends (94%), partner (92%), children (92%) and general practitioner (91%) and the most important qualities of help were listening, patience and mindfulness. The most important qualities of help from the oncologist were: therapy, listening and information/advice. Conclusion: Patients with metastatic solid tumours use a helping network of contact persons when they are distressed. The oncologist, partner, children, friends and general practitioner are key persons. Training of oncologists in distress management is of utmost importance. Furthermore the patient's network should be strengthened by improving the information flow and by continuous support for the main caregivers.

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Cancer and Clinical Oncology ISSN 1927-4858(Print) ISSN 1927-4866(Online)

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