CHEMO-SUPPORT is a nursing intervention that supports cancer patients in dealing with chemotherapy-related symptoms at home. The aims of the current study were (1) to determine how patients had experienced the intervention, and (2) to identify and better understand the mechanisms underlying CHEMO-SUPPORT's effects, its essential elements and possible pitfalls.All 71 patients who had received the CHEMO-SUPPORT intervention completed a questionnaire, asking their opinion on the helpfulness, strengths, and weaknesses of the individual components of the intervention. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with a purposeful selection of 9 of the 71 patients to get a deeper understanding of the patient experience.Nurses' caring support, combined with competent care, gave patients a sense of reassurance and made them feel (better) able to deal with their symptoms. The importance patients ascribed to the intervention varied according to the individual symptom experience and coping mechanisms of the patients, and by their experience with regular care. Patients rated the informational brochure component of the intervention most helpful. It served as their ‘companion’, offering support and expert advice at home. Patients felt that a strength of the brochure was the support they received from the quotes of fellow patients.The CHEMO-SUPPORT intervention made patients feel more reassured and empowered in dealing with symptoms at home. That the CHEMO-SUPPORT experience was influenced by personal and contextual factors highlights the importance of tailoring the intervention to each patient, as well as improving supportive and competent symptom-management support in daily oncology care.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.