Recent changes in healthcare management generally and in cancer care in particular, indicate a major shift in the clinical management of cancer from hospitals and healthcare professionals (HCPs) to patients and families. In light of these changes national and international policies and reports by the
Department of Health & Children, 2001,
- Department of Health & Children
Report of the National Advisory Committee on Palliative Care.
Department of Health & Children, Dublin2001
Department of Health & Children, 2006and the
- Department of Health & Children
National Cancer Forum: a Strategy for Cancer Control in Ireland.
Department of Health & Children, Dublin2006
World Health Organisation, 2004have recommended that HCPs support family members (FMs) to care for loved ones. The purpose of this review therefore was to explore the extent to which FMs’ needs are realised by HCPs in practice.
- World Health Organisation
Palliative Care: the Solid Facts.
World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen2004
To examine recent research (2000–2010) in relation to; the type of information that FMs of patients with cancer generally seek, how they seek this information from HCPs, and, FMs’ experiences of communicating with HCPs in this context.
A review of the literature was conducted using key databases Medline, Pub med, Psych-Info and CINAHL.
Thirty four papers were included in the review. Overall the studies demonstrated that FMs of patients with cancer have similar information needs and demonstrate similar strategies for seeking information. While many FMs report positive communication experiences with HCPs and have information needs met, the majority of FMs report negative communication encounters with HCPs.
HCPs are highly significant in the lives of FMs of patients with cancer. The review concludes with identifying; FMs most wanted information needs, their struggles with accessing HCPs and the type of communication encounters FMs most desire to have with HCPs. Recommendations for education, practice and research are addressed.
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Published online: November 22, 2010
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