Throughout the cancer trajectory, patients and their caregivers are confronted with numerous treatment choices and quality-of-life concerns. Psycho-oncology research has documented the efficacy of clinical and psycho-educational interventions to improve coping with the distress of living with cancer. These interventions are often delivered in face to face settings, requiring patients and caregivers to travel distances to access care. Increasingly, travel has become a barrier to access for psycho-oncology care. Patients not only have practical travel challenges regarding costs, long distances and transport logistics, but may not feel well enough to travel due to the rigors of treatment, side effects and pain. Additional barriers include care of children and elders as well employment, making it difficult, if not impossible, to take time away from work for psychological guidance. Privacy and communication difficulties may also impede the uptake of these services.
Two international authors from different hemispheres will offer an oral presentation, focusing on the innovative use of communication technologies to enable patients to access a range of psycho-oncology services via telephone and online. This includes telephone and online counselling and support groups, as well as psycho-educational workshops, occurring in real time as well as asynchronously. The utility of these evidence-based methodologies for the contemporary cancer population will be explicated. Quantitative metrics and descriptive, qualitative content analysis of data will be provided to demonstrate the importance and value of these approaches for patients. Case vignettes, audio clips, literature review and exemplar clinical interventions will be highlighted.
Given the changing needs of cancer patients, utilising cancer research to inform practice will enable psycho-oncology clinicians and institutions to better meet the needs of growing numbers of patients and their caregivers, who require innovative clinical practice models to bridge the barriers to psycho-oncology services