Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Development, implementation and evaluation of a multidisciplinary cancer rehabilitation programme : The CANSURVIVOR Project : meeting post-treatment cancer survivors’ needs
    (Health Services Executive, 2009) ; ;
    Cancer survivor numbers in Ireland are increasing due to the success of modern treatments. Although most survivors have a good quality of life not all survivors return to 'normal' after treatment. The HSE funded CANSURVIVOR research project has found that many survivors have difficulties and need help to recover and adjust after cancer treatment. Over a number of exploratory studies using interviews, focus groups and a survey of 262 breast, prostate, colorectal and lung cancer survivors, the researchers found that over 25% of survivors experienced significant difficulties with physical, emotional and social functioning, including symptoms such as insomnia and fatigue, while 33% experienced high levels of anxiety. Of particular concern were the findings that over 50% of survivors were overweight, 35% had reduced their physical activity levels and 13% continued to smoke after cancer, putting them at risk for further health problems. This evidence led to the development of an 8-week multi-disciplinary pilot rehabilitation programme. Significant quality of life improvements were achieved with increases in strength and fitness as well as a reduction in anxiety levels and dietary improvements. The researchers highlight the need for a structured, co-ordinated survivorship service, education of health professionals about survivorship and the provision of high quality information to survivors. This research was led by the School of Psychology at UCD in collaboration with the Physiotherapy and Nutrition departments of St. Vincent's hospital.
  • Publication
    Health Psychology and life after cancer: Recognizing the need for continued support
    (European Health Psychology Society, 2014-12) ;
    Research and clinical practice in oncology has focused on prevention, detection and the improvement of cancer treatments. However, there is something missing from this representation of the cancer trajectory. There is little attention given to life after treatment has ended, that period when the patient moves into what is termed ‘long-term survivorship’. There is a growing interest within Health Psychology in the quality of life of those whose lives have been prolonged by early detection and successful treatment of cancer and indeed, health psychologists have much to offer in this domain.
  • Publication
    On the Line: An Investigation of Stress and Burnout in Helpline Volunteers
    (University College Dublin. Department of Psychology, 2001)
    The main aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of stress and burnout in a sample of Irish helpline volunteers. A further aim was to investigate both the factors that contribute to and that help manage stress and burnout. Many helplines have reported difficulties with volunteer numbers, and up to recently they regularly lost as many as were gained. Although stress and burnout are recognised as leading causes of high organisational turnover, no empirical studies have examined this issue in the Irish helpline volunteer. Eighty-five helpline volunteers, sixty-five females and twenty males, whose ages ranged from 19 to 78 years (mean age = 44.46, SD = 15.95) took part in the study. They represented four Dublin based helpline organisations. Preliminary interviews identified a number of factors that were incorporated into a questionnaire, which was a modified version of the measure devised by Cyr & Dowrick (1991). This examined factors that contribute to and help manage stress and burnout in the current context. Additional measures of motivation, empathy, psychological well-being, burnout, support, and coping approaches were also used. Results show that volunteers experience low overall levels of stress and burnout. However, up to a third of volunteers gave cause for concern. Some volunteers exhibited high levels of stress and burnout with a proportion exhibiting clinical levels of distress. In addition, the study found that age, Job factors and Personal factors contributed most to stress and burnout and that personal factors and volunteer group factors helped most to manage that experience. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for helpline organisations, and some strategies are suggested for reducing stress and burnout in helpline volunteers such as ongoing training, an annual stress audit and the introduction of a recognition and rewards system.
  • Publication
    Focusing on survivorship : improving our knowledge of life after cancer
    This article highlights the need to recognize that the post-treatment phase of the cancer journey requires attention and that there is a need to develop survivorship services. As a first step, cancer survivors need information so health providers need to improve their knowledge about life after cancer.
  • Publication
    The CANSURVIVOR Project: A Positive Approach to Survivorship. Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a Multidisciplinary, Biopsychosocial, Pilot Intervention to Meet Post-Treatment Cancer Survivors’ Needs
    (University College Dublin. School of Psychology, 2008)
    The population of Irish cancer survivors is ever-increasing due to the success of modern treatments and earlier detection of the disease. However, there is little evidence in Ireland regarding post-treatment survivors’ service needs. The major aims of this research were to profile a sample of post-treatment survivors, assess their quality of life and health service needs and develop a rehabilitation programme to address those needs. To develop such a programme, two exploratory studies were conducted. Study 1 was a qualitative study of survivors, their carers and health professionals (N = 56). It investigated the factors impacting on post-treatment quality of life from a number of perspectives. It found that cancer and its treatment impacts on the survivors’ quality of life in multiple life domains, that survivors need post-treatment services and that health professionals need to be educated regarding survivorship issues. Study 2 was a comprehensive survey and needs analysis of post-treatment breast, prostate, colorectal and lung cancer survivors (N = 262). It found that although most survivors recovered very well after cancer treatment, up to 26% had significant difficulties with quality of life functioning and symptoms and 33% had anxiety scores above the normal range. In terms of lifestyle, 35% had reduced their physical activity levels, 13% continued to smoke, 51% were overweight and the majority had a poor diet. These findings informed the development and implementation of Study 3 – a multidisciplinary and integrated pilot rehabilitation programme. This 8-week programme used Hope Therapy as a scaffold to support psychosocial, physical activity and dietary change (N = 38). This positive approach to enhancing quality of life and facilitating psychosocial adjustment and health behaviour change was successful in significantly impacting on quality of life, increasing hopeful thinking, physical activity levels, fitness, strength, vitamin C and fibre intake in the treatment group. Significant reductions in anxiety, weight, saturated fat and overall calories consumed were also found. A programme evaluation by participants and the delivery team endorsed the efficacy of the programme. This research represents the first step in developing a theory-based, positive, integrated, bio-psychosocial approach to adjustment after cancer. Recommendations for the future development of formal survivorship services in Ireland are made including the development and dissemination of high quality information about post-treatment issues to cancer survivors and health care professionals.