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Piloting a Needs Assessment to Guide Development of a Survivorship Program for a Community Cancer Center

Maura Schlairet
Mary Ann Heddon
Martha Griffis
ONF 2010, 37(4), 501-508 DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.501-508

Purpose/Objectives: To develop and pilot a survey to assess needs and distress of cancer survivors receiving care in a community cancer center.

Design: Descriptive, quantitative.

Setting: A community cancer center in the southeastern United States partnering with a local college of nursing faculty.

Sample: Convenience sample of 307 adult cancer survivors.

Methods: Voluntary completion of a modified survey of needs.

Main Research Variables: Cancer survivor needs and distress according to five subscales (physical effects, social issues, emotional aspects, spiritual issues, and other issues), age, and gender.

Findings: Patients on average reported experiencing more than 25 of 50 possible survivorship needs. Average distress scores associated with individual needs were low. The most frequently experienced needs were fatigue, fear of recurrence, and sleep disturbance. Middle-aged survivors experienced significantly greater need and distress across all subscales.

Conclusions: Need and distress exist among adult cancer survivors receiving treatment and follow-up in community cancer care settings, with the middle-age phase of life creating unique barriers. Survey data may provide documentation of the multidimensional impact of cancer on quality of life and can help direct survivorship program development.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses can address a barrier to survivorship care in community care settings by using the Pearlman-Mayo Survey of Needs to assess outcomes relevant to survivors. Partnership between community hospital RNs and college of nursing faculty may create local or regional solutions and serve as useful models for survivorship care.

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