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Assessment of Patient and Family Needs During an Inpatient Oncology Experience

Mary Dougherty
CJON 2010, 14(3), 301-306 DOI: 10.1188/10.CJON.301-306

Little research has been conducted to discern the specific needs of patients with cancer and their family members, despite the number of oncology-related hospital admissions each year. The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine the specific needs of patients and family members during an inpatient oncology admission. A convenience sample of 54 participants (27 patients and 27 family members) was obtained. The most important needs identified by patients related to information and communication about their medical care, the competence of their caregivers, cleanliness of the care environment, and adequacy of pain management. Family members' most important needs were similar, with the addition of needs related to visitation and specific discharge information. The least important needs identified by both groups related to information about the hospital setting, having the same nurse provide care, support from nonfamily members, and speaking with the physician daily. Patients and family members look to establish a level of trust in their care providers. The trust does not seem to depend on consistency of practitioners, but rather on communication among caregivers, which enables patients and their families to feel better prepared for an unknown future. In addition, a need exists to improve communication among patients, families, and nursing staff through intentioned conversations.

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