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Taking a holistic approach to supportive cancer care: a qualitative study exploring patients’ experiences and perceived impact of attending a wellbeing group

Robson, E. (2018). Taking a holistic approach to supportive cancer care: a qualitative study exploring patients’ experiences and perceived impact of attending a wellbeing group. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, university of London)

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Abstract

Introduction: Physical and psychosocial support is essential for people living with and beyond cancer. An increase in cancer survival rates has prompted a greater need for widely accessible patient-centred support services that integrate self-management techniques alongside routine care. Well-being groups, such as yoga therapy and creative writing, could improve QOL, enhance self-esteem and empower patients to make confident treatment decisions.

Aims: (1) To understand why people living with and beyond cancer attend groups, (2) explore patients’ experiences and attitudes towards wellbeing groups, and (3) identify the perceived impact that attending a group may have.

Method: A qualitative design using semi-structured interviews was employed (n=20). Participants were recruited via an NHS Cancer Centre in Central London. All participants had received a cancer diagnosis and had participated in at least three group wellbeing sessions (yoga and/or creative writing). Transcripts were analysed using an inductive approach to thematic analysis.

Results: Upon completion of data analysis, 3 key themes and 9 sub-themes were established: (1) Identity, perception and reflection, (2) Feeling lost after cancer treatment ends, and (3) Always accepted, never judged.

Discussion: Generally, participants reported positively on their experiences of attending a wellbeing group with many suggesting that it had enhanced their patient experience. Groups fulfill the social needs of cancer patients who seek face-to-face interactions with others who have shared similar experiences. People also crave a sense of belonging and safety after cancer treatment ends, which may explain why many patients continue to attend groups based in clinical settings.

Conclusion: Further research should explore holistic cancer support further in order to raise awareness among health professionals and ensure that those living with and beyond cancer are being offered suitable psychosocial support that is right for them.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20186

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