The aim of this survey was to ask members of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncology Nurses (BAHNON) about the identification of patients and carers unmet needs in the routine out-patient review clinic and the support services available during consultation. A national postal survey was sent out to the 210 current members of BAHNON in November 2009. Reminders were sent to non-responders in February 2010. The response rate was 61% (129/210). The vast majority (80%) were Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS). The questionnaire data support the strong belief in attempts to identify unmet needs with over three-quarters feeling strongly about themselves being personally involved in attempting to identify unmet needs. Most of the responders used counselling and communication methods to elicit unmet concerns rather than specific tools such as questionnaires. The vast majority clearly felt that identifying unmet needs in clinic improves patients’ perception of outcome post-treatment. Support services’ readily’ available at the time of consultation were as follows: H&N CNS (99%), Speech and Language (86%), Oncologist (84%), Dietician/Nutritionist (84%), Dentist (44%), Oral Rehabilitation consultant (27%), Dental Hygienist (26%), Physiotherapist (21%), Chaplain (20%), Emotional Support therapist (15%), Psychologist (15%), Occupational therapist (13%), Social worker (8%), other (11%). Although responders felt it very important to identify unmet needs in follow-up clinics, there is reliance on one to one discussion with the patient and carer. Hence in a busy clinic, needs might be easily missed and further research is required into ways to facilitate their identification.
Rogers, S., Clifford, N., & Lowe, D. (2011). Patient and carer unmet needs: a survey of the British association of head and neck oncology nurses. British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjoms.2010.06.017