Patients' perceptions of how healthcare providers communicate with them and their families following a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

European journal of oncology nursing : the official journal of European Oncology Nursing Society

PubMedID: 24954770

McCarthy B. Patients' perceptions of how healthcare providers communicate with them and their families following a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2014;.
PURPOSE
Chemotherapy can result in many unpredictable and often debilitating side-effects hence patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment may have to rely on their loved ones to support them through this most challenging period. In view of this possibility then good communication skills between patients, healthcare providers and family members is of paramount importance for effective patient outcomes. The aim of this study therefore, was to explore patients' perceptions of how healthcare providers communicate with them and their family members whilst undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

METHODS
Using a qualitative methodology and a descriptive design, data were collected using unstructured interviews with patients undergoing chemotherapy (n = 14) and analysed by content analysis.

RESULTS
Participants expressed that both they and their family members were treated with compassion, kindness, empathy and understanding. They appreciated the time given to them and their family members to listen and answer their questions before, during and/or after treatment. In addition they commented positively on the warm and cheerful environment and the selective use of appropriate humour by oncology healthcare providers in the chemotherapy units.

CONCLUSION
The data highlights in particular the positive communication encounters between patients with cancer and their healthcare providers and family members. Oncology nurses were identified as being particularly supportive to both patients and their family members. Despite chemotherapy units being a difficult place to be a part of, this study highlights that healthcare providers can help make this a less daunting place for patients and their family members through their appropriate use of professional communication.