Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Beyond diagnosis and survivorship: findings from a mixed-methods study of a community-based cancer support service

Ilse Blignault A B G , Louise McDonnell C F , Diana Aspinall D , Robyn Yates E and Jennifer Reath C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Health Research, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

B School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Australia, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

C Department of General Practice, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

D Nepean Blue Mountains PHN, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

E Blue Mountains Cancer Help, PO Box 18, Katoomba, NSW 2780, Australia.

F Present address: Hazelbrook General Practice, 7–9 Rosedale Avenue, Hazelbrook, NSW 2779, Australia.

G Corresponding author. Email: i.blignault@westernsydney.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(4) 391-396 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16067
Submitted: 27 May 2016  Accepted: 6 February 2017   Published: 18 May 2017

Abstract

This consumer-led research investigated the client experiences and the individual and community benefits of a community-based cancer support service operating in a regional setting. The study included cross-sectional surveys, focus group discussions and key-informant interviews. In total, 114 clients, 28 carers and 20 therapists were surveyed; three client focus groups were conducted and five directors and staff were interviewed. For many clients and carers, the warm welcome experienced at first contact sets the tone for a long-term association with the organisation. The feeling of being cared for extends to the broader community and living with cancer becomes more than survivorship. Integral to the organisational model are opportunity (second-hand) shops that enable subsidised complementary therapies and other services, offer a way of giving back and assist disadvantaged community members. The organisational model has benefits, not only for people living with cancer and their families, but also for the wider community.


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