A Telephone Helpline Assessment of Psychosocial Needs of Adults with Cancer Post Institute of Medicine (IOM) Recommendations


Objective: To explore whether the 2007 IOM recommendations had an impact on the reasons for calls to a cancer telephone helpline and determine the major reasons for calls at two different time periods after the 2007 recommendations. Methods: Caller data with identifiers removed were extracted from a cancer helpline database. Baseline data included calls made to the helpline between April 2, 2008 and September 2, 2009 (Period 1). Then, a second data set was built from data collected between September 3, 2009 and May 2, 2011 (Period 2). Results: The major reasons for calls to the cancer telephone helpline during the two different time periods were the same: financial assistance, helpline services information, coping assistance, support groups, and questions related to treatment. Four of the top five reasons were non-treatment related (i.e., financial issues, helpline services information, coping, and support). Conclusions: The nature of calls to the helpline suggests that the financial and psychosocial needs of people with cancer are not being addressed by healthcare providers. Practice implications: The new “normal” for cancer care includes decisions about complex care coupled with new regulatory and financial constraints. This underscores the importance of focused planning of cancer care across multiple care settings in order to ensure continuity of care for the whole person.

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Klemm, P. , Rempusheski, V. , Jurkovitz, C. , Kolm, P. and Zhang, W. (2014) A Telephone Helpline Assessment of Psychosocial Needs of Adults with Cancer Post Institute of Medicine (IOM) Recommendations. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 797-807. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.411085.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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