- •The integration of accompanying patients (AP) into the teams is perceived as variable and under construction.
- •Participants identified factors linked to clinical team, APs and patient that can influence APs’ integration into teams.
- •Participants identified APs’ roles as complementary roles in helping people affected by cancer cope with their care journey.
In Canada, two out of five people will be diagnosed with cancer which will affect their lives on a physical, psychological, and social levels. To help people affected by cancer (PAC) cope with the disease, support is provided by oncology nurses (ONs), including oncology pivot nurses (OPNs), as well as by accompanying patients (APs), i.e. people who have already had to deal with a cancer problem. APs are still a recent addition to the services offered in oncology, and as of yet no study has explored how the support provided by APs is being integrated into usual care, especially ONs care. This study explores the perceptions of APs and ONs on APs’ integration into clinical teams.
An exploratory qualitative study was carried out with six ONs and six APs through semi-structured interviews conducted from 2020 to 2021. Data were analyzed using a qualitative content analysis.
Participants perceived the AP's integration into the teams and during care as variable and in flux. They also identified factors that influence APs' integration into clinical teams (e.g.:the clinical teams' dynamics, the understanding of the AP's role, APs and patients' characteristics). Lastly, participants made recommendations to improve APs integration into clinical teams.
This study highlights how integrating APs into clinical teams has not yet become part of ONs’ routines. ONs can play a key role in their integration through their collaborative and teamwork skills. Furthermore, there is a recognition that these two approaches can play complementary roles in supporting PACs.
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Published online: December 16, 2022
Accepted: December 14, 2022
Received in revised form: November 30, 2022
Received: June 23, 2022
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