Health visitor support for patients with breast cancer – part 2
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Health visitor support for patients with breast cancer – part 2

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

In the second of two articles, the author’s report on research indicates that health visitors (HVs) with preparation and education for the role, can provide effective support for patients having treatment for breast cancer in the community. A sample of 35 patients with breast cancer was interviewed at home soon after referral from hospital following treatment and again three months later. They had many medical and psychosocial problems relating to their disease and its treatment, indicating need for professional support. Support from HVs consisted of preparing patients for treatments, assessing how they were coping and liaising with staff from the breast unit. The HVs encouraged patients to express their feelings about altered body image, sexuality and depression, as well as offering information and medical advice when this was requested. The HVs also helped patients with social problems, mainly difficulties with family relationships, finance and work. The first article appeared on May 7 1997

Nursing Standard. 11, 35, 34-38. doi: 10.7748/ns1997.05.11.35.34.c2456