Descriptive study of the supportive care needs of patients with gynecological cancer before surgery

Background: Gynecological cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the female population. The care needs that arise from the preoperative stage require constant evaluation and appropriate supportive care.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to describe the care needs of women with gynecological cancer before surgery.

Methods: The sample of the descriptive study consisted of 102 women diagnosed with gynecological cancer during their hospitalization for scheduled surgery, in a large oncology hospital in Attica. Participants completed the Needs Evaluation Questionnaire (NEQ) and the clinical-demographic questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using the statistical program SPSS 22.0.

Results: The mean age of the sample was 61.1 years (SD = 11.1). The mean number of needs was 10.9 (SD = 5.9), with 95% of patients reporting at least one need. The information needs related to diagnosis and prognosis were the group of needs with the highest percentage (86.3%), while last in the ranking was the group of needs for hotel infrastructure (23.5%). The top three were the needs for «more information about the future» (85.3%), «more explanations about treatment» (72.5%) and «others are less upset about their situation»(69.6%). In contrast, there was less need for «more help to eat, get dressed, go to the bathroom» (12.7%), «talk to a priest» (19.6%) and «better hospital services for toilet, cleaning, feeding»(23.5%).

Conclusions: Patients with gynecological cancer report increased unmet care needs before surgery. Nurses should be vigilant about the timely identification of patients care needs and their management as part of an individualized care plan. Acknowledgments. Authors would like to acknowledge Evaggelia Xaniotaki, head nurse of Gynecological Unit of Agios Savvas Anticancer Hospital and Dimitrios Papatheodorou, gynecologic oncologist and scientific director of Gynecological Unit of Agios Savvas Anticancer Hospital, for their support to the primary researcher.