Mapping the social support networks of patients
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Mapping the social support networks of patients

Bob Price Programme Director, RCN Institute

The aim of this article is to provide you with a briefing on how to construct a social support network map with cancer sufferers. Cancer poses unique problems for patients who often feel vulnerable for months at a time. Following preliminary treatment, patients are not guaranteed a cure. Treatment programmes are often lengthy and designed to sustain a remission. As a result, the support needs of patients extend well beyond the confines of the hospital and into the community (Sammarco 2001, Ebright and Lyon 2002). Patients will need to draw extensively upon lay support and the question arises, ‘who might help me’ (Bottomley and Jones 1997; Pistrang 1997)? A key contribution of the nurse at the juncture of hospital and community based care is assistance with mapping social support (Price 1999).

Cancer Nursing Practice. 2, 5, 31-36. doi: 10.7748/cnp2003.

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