Needs and Preferences of Cancer Patients Regarding a Web-Based Psychological Intervention: a qualitative study

Nadine Köhle, Constance H.C. Drossaert, S. Oosterik, Karlein Maria Gertrudis Schreurs, M. Hagedoorn, C.F. Van Uden-Kraan, I.M. Verdonck- de Leeuw, Ernst Thomas Bohlmeijer

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Abstract

Background: Evidence-based, easily accessible, supportive interventions for partners of cancer patients are limited, despite the fact that they often suffer from diminished emotional, social, physical, and relational functioning. To develop a new intervention that will fit their demands, it is important to consult potential users. Objective: To examine partners’ interest in a Web-based psychological intervention and to identify their needs and wishes regarding such an intervention. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 16 partners of cancer patients, who varied in terms of age, gender, education, employment, type, and stage of disease. Partners were asked (1) whether they would use a psychological Web-based intervention and which preconditions (maximum time, structure, participate alone or with their partner) it should meet; (2) which functionalities (information, peer support, online psychological counseling) the intervention should contain; and (3) which topics (eg, taking care of oneself) should be addressed. Data were coded by 2 coders independently. Results: The need for a Web-based intervention varied. Arguments for being interested in a Web-based intervention included the need for acknowledgement; the need for someone they could talk to; and the need for information, tips, and support. Based on their experiences as a partner of a cancer patient, participants would prefer an intervention that is not too time-consuming (about 1-2 hours a week) and which is based on a “step-by-step” approach, meaning that the content of the intervention should match the stage of their partner’s disease. Also, they would prefer a positive approach, which means that the intervention should be a source of hope and energy. Most participants stated that they would prefer to participate without their ill spouse, because they do not want to burden their partners with their own problems. An intervention should contain information and optional peer support. Participants’ opinions about online psychological counseling in the intervention were divided. Arguments for online psychological counseling were that a professional could check on them and they were able to ask questions. Arguments against online counseling were that partners were not in need for guidance or they had enough support from usual care. Topics with the highest priority were “coping with feelings and emotions,” “should I or shouldn’t I spare my partner?,” “communicating with each other,” “asking for help and refusing help,” and “moving on with life after cancer treatment.” Furthermore, participants suggested additional topics of “dare to enjoy” and “acceptance of the patient’s disease.” Conclusions: A Web-based intervention can be a valuable addition to existing support initiatives for partners of cancer patients. This study provides important information about the content and form of such an intervention. Flexibility and a positive approach seem to be the most important features.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJMIR cancer
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • METIS-313826
  • IR-98736

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