Understanding factors that affect older people’s capacity to manage the workload associated with living with cancer
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Understanding factors that affect older people’s capacity to manage the workload associated with living with cancer

Lucy Anne Lewis Consultant practitioner in frailty, Frailty Support Team, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, and PhD student, University of Southampton, Southampton, England
Naomi Farrington Advanced nurse practitioner (chemotherapy) and Health Education England/National Institute for Health and Care Research clinical lecturer, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, Southampton, England
Danielle Harari Academic reader in geriatric medicine, Kings College London, and consultant geriatrician, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Tania Kalsi Kings College London, and consultant geriatrician, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Harnish P Patel Consultant geriatrician, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and University of Southampton, Southampton, England
Jackie Bridges Professor of older people’s care, University of Southampton and National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration for Wessex, Southampton, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To recognise how older age and pre-existing multimorbidity may complicate the self-management of cancer

  • To learn about research that showed how a reduction in physical function due to cancer affected older people’s ability to manage their health, other responsibilities and live their everyday lives

  • To identify the role of healthcare professionals, including nurse specialists, in enhancing older people’s ability to self-manage cancer

Background Many older people who are living with cancer do so with concurrent complex health and social issues. Assessment and treatment planning for cancer often focus primarily on the disease, missing opportunities to identify and address these significant wider concerns.

Aim To gain an understanding of the factors that can increase or reduce older people’s capacity to manage the workload associated with the self-management of cancer and other conditions.

Method Secondary analysis of questionnaire data comprising 224 responses to 19 structured items covering health and daily living issues and analysis of free-text responses, focusing on factors affecting an individual’s capacity to manage their workload associated with living with cancer.

Results Reduced physical function affected many respondents’ capacity to manage their health and other responsibilities and to live their everyday lives. Many respondents were concerned about continuing to care for those dependent on them and identified factors that enhanced their capacity in their social network and from healthcare professionals. Organisational factors such as scheduled appointments, transport and availability of parking further affected respondents’ capacity.

Conclusion There is an implicit need to identify and address the main factors that can increase an individual’s capacity to manage their health and to support the delivery of person-centred cancer treatment and care plans.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1813

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

l.lewis2@nhs.net

Conflict of interest

None declared

Lewis LA, Farrington N, Harari D et al (2022) Understanding factors that affect an older person’s capacity to manage the workload associated with living with cancer. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1813

Acknowledgements

HP is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Southampton Biomedical Research Centre. NF is funded by a NIHR Clinical Lectureship. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care

Published online: 19 July 2022

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