Health visitor support for patients with breast cancer - part 1
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Health visitor support for patients with breast cancer - part 1

Jean Lugton Research Fellow, Department of Nursing and Community Health, Glasgow Caledonian University

In the first of two articles, the author reports on research exploring the attitudes towards, and knowledge and experience of, caring for patients with breast cancer of health visitors (HVs) acting as resource personnel for colleagues. The study also examined how they used their knowledge and what difference it made to patients’ coping ability at various stages of the disease. The HVs underwent a short education programme to increase their ability to help patients in several key areas. All the HVs described the support of patients with treated breast cancer in the community as important. While they felt that their support to patients was mainly psychological, they also described giving medical information and assisting with a number of social problems. HVs were constrained by their existing caseloads in the time they could give to patients with breast cancer. However, the research showed that only a minority of patients required more intensive support, most being satisfied with one visit and the opportunity of further contact should this be necessary. The second article will appear in two weeks.

Nursing Standard. 11, 33, 33-37. doi: 10.7748/ns1997.05.11.33.33.c2454