Purpose: To maximize patient well-being, health and social care should, whenever possible, address individual patient needs. The present study aims firstly, to identify prevalent, salient and unmet needs amongst cancer outpatients, and secondly, to explore socio-demographic and clinical influences on expressed need.
Methods: One-hundred and ten outpatients registered at a UK cancer treatment centre completed a self-report questionnaire measuring the presence, salience and degree to which 80 need items were met. Six broad cancer sites were represented: urology, colorectal, breast, gynaecology, haematology, and head and neck.
Results: The mean number of needs reported was 27. The top five needs concerned the treatment, care and health information patients receive from healthcare professionals, all of which were rated as well met. Least met needs included receiving genetic information, information about lifestyle changes, help with worries about spread or recurrence, and parking near treatment centres. Salient needs showed greater variation across the sample and were often unmet, for example the need for genetic information, and the need for information about symptoms/indicators of recurrence. Gender (female), age (younger), having an informal caregiver, and cancer site all affected aspects of need; whereas time since diagnosis and type of treatment did not.
Conclusions: Acknowledging these influences on patient need could help guide patient-centred support services with potential gains to patient satisfaction and well-being.
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