Purpose: Based on the case study of an elderly man with advanced prostate cancer, this paper examines the impact of cancer on elderly couples and families, and the potential role of couple-focussed clinical interventions.
Method: A brief review of evidence regarding interventions for couples with cancer will be provided building on relevant theoretical frameworks, with a review of the common themes in clinical assessment and care of elderly patients and their family.
Results: The needs of couples facing cancer are receiving increasing emphasis,with varying models of clinical intervention developed to assist care-giving roles, enhance communication and assist coping. The issues apply similarly to elderly couples where themes of loss, isolation, coping with caregiving tasks and roles, and the broader family impact of advanced cancer occur amidst the specific personal and broader social and cultural context of ageing.
Conclusions: While considerable work has focussed on the development of couple’s interventions in cancer, the application of these to the commonly faced needs of elderly couples facing cancer is limited. The case study will provide the opportunity to examine these themes for ageing couples, potential clinical approaches and issues faced in promoting the psychosocial care of the elderly couple within routine clinical services.
Lea Baider Private Symposium (Brian Kelly presenting)