Older patients' experiences with and attitudes towards an oncogeriatric pathway: A qualitative study

Anna Uit den Boogaard*, Dide de Jongh, Marjan J T van den Elst, Stella Trompet, Janneke M de Man-van Ginkel, Johanneke E A Portielje, Yvette Meuleman, Simon P Mooijaart, Nienke A de Glas, Frederiek van den Bos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: 

To tailor treatment for older patients with cancer, an oncogeriatric care pathway has been developed in the Leiden University Medical Center. In this care pathway a geriatric assessment is performed and preferences concerning cancer treatment options are discussed. This study aimed to explore patient experiences with and attitudes towards this pathway.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 

A qualitative study was performed using an exploratory descriptive approach. Individual face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with older patients (≥70 years) who had followed the oncogeriatric care pathway in the six months prior to the interview. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were analyzed inductively using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: 

After interviews with 14 patients with a median age of 80 years, three main themes were identified. (1) Patients' positive experiences with the oncogeriatric pathway: Patients appreciated the attitudes of the healthcare professionals and felt heard and understood. (2) Unmet information needs about the oncogeriatric care pathway: Patients experienced a lack of information about the aim and process. (3) Incomplete information for decision-making: Most patients were satisfied with decision-making process. However, treatment decisions had often been made before oncogeriatric consultation. No explicit naming and explaining of different available treatment options had been provided, nor had risk of physical or cognitive decline during and after treatment been addressed.

DISCUSSION: 

Older patients had predominately positive attitudes towards the oncogeriatric care pathway. Most patients were satisfied with the treatment decision. Providing information on the aim and process of the care pathway, available treatment options, and treatment-related risks of cognitive and physical decline may further improve the oncogeriatric care pathway and the decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101745
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

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