“…you can feel..a little isolated if you haven’t got the contact”; qualitative analysis of an innovative service to support prostate cancer survivors with radiotherapy late effects (the EAGLE study)


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Stephanie Sivell1,Elin Baddeley1,John Staffurth2,Sophia Taylor3,Annmarie Nelson1
1Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre, Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University,2Division of Cancer and Genetics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University; Velindre Cancer Centre,3University of Southamptom

Abstract

Background

Prostate cancer survivors may experience bowel gastrointestinal side effects of radical radiotherapy for prostate cancer. These symptoms can lead to severe difficulties including limiting work, travel or socialising. To improve the care for patients with bowel problems, the EAGLE study implemented an innovative gastroenterological service in three NHS centres (two led by a specialist nurse). The purpose of the qualitative analysis was to assess the acceptability of the new service and monitor the experiences of patients and professionals.

Method

Semi-structured interviews were held with healthcare professionals and patients at baseline, 6 months and 12 months. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim; data were analysed using framework analysis.

Results

Thirty-five healthcare professionals (Baseline n=17; 6 months n=13; 12 months n=2) and 16 patients (including their companions: Baseline n=9; 6 months n=5; 12 months n=2) were interviewed. Four key themes emerged from the qualitative analyses: 1) Making a difference: patients reported the information they were given to manage their symptoms to be useful and effective, making a positive difference and providing support they did not have previously; 2) capacity: both patients and professionals were supportive of the service, hoping that this service could continue after the research study; 3) Expertise: patients and professionals were supportive of the nurse-led model - the professionals found this freed-up consultation time; 4) Barriers and facilitators: patients were happy to both join the service and the research study to evaluate the service, although some patients did not differentiate a difference between the two.

Conclusion

The new service was well received by both patients and professionals. Patients felt the new service has provided them with support, helping them to relieve and improve long-standing side effects of bowel radiotherapy. We will triangulate additional health economics and statistical data to determine the overall value of the service and explore its expansion beyond research.