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Article in Journal ()

General practitioners' 'lived experience' of assessing psychological distress in cancer patients: an exploratory qualitative study

Citation
Carolan C & Campbell K (2016) General practitioners' 'lived experience' of assessing psychological distress in cancer patients: an exploratory qualitative study, European Journal of Cancer Care, 25 (3), pp. 391-401.

Abstract
While psychological distress in cancer patients is common, little is known about how general practitioners (GPs) assess distress. Using semi-structured interviews, a phenomenological study of seven GPs was conducted to explore GPs' experiences of assessing distress. Findings revealed five themes: (1) Being in the Relay Team - receiving and passing the baton: where the assessment of distress was conceptualised as a relay baton passed between a team of health care professionals, with GPs most involved at diagnosis and in the palliative phase. (2) Being in a Relationship: where the doctor-patient relationship was described as a powerful facilitator to assessment. (3) Being Skilled: where GPs perceive they are skilled at assessment adopting a patient-centred approach. (4) Being Challenged - encountering barriers: challenges with assessment were identified regarding the GPs' own emotions, patient related factors and time; the duality of family as both barrier and facilitator was voiced. (5) The Intruder in the Room: where GPs did not use validated screening tools which were viewed as an intruder in the doctor-patient relationship. Further research to objectively assess GPs' skills in distress assessment and attitudes towards the use of screening tools within the cancer care context are merited.

Keywords
cancer; emotional; psychological

StatusPublished
AuthorsCarolan Clare, Campbell Karen
Publication date05/2016
Publication date online07/07/2015
Date accepted by journal16/06/2015
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN 0961-5423
LanguageEnglish

Journal
European Journal of Cancer Care: Volume 25, Issue 3

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