Treiman K, Husick C, Sarris-Esquivel N, Sae-Hau M, Barnhart M, Disare K, Gupta C, Halpern M, Suvada K, Weiss E. Meeting the information and support needs of blood cancer patients and caregivers: a longitudinal study of a model of patient-centered information delivery. J Cancer Educ. 2019 Dec 10. doi: 10.1007/s13187-019-01662-8.

Access to reliable, up-to-date information and resources can assist individuals managing and living with cancer. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, through its Information Resource Center, provides personalized information and support to individuals affected by blood cancer. To examine its value and impact, we conducted qualitative interviews (n = 18) and an online survey of patients and caregivers (N = 515) after they talked with an Information Resource Center Information Specialist by phone, with a follow-up survey about 6 months later. Respondents most commonly contacted the Information Resource Center to get referrals to support programs (40.4%) and to obtain information about getting a second opinion (36.5%) and financial assistance (36.2%). After talking with an Information Specialist, respondents felt more hopeful (85.9%), more confident in managing care (82.9%), and more knowledgeable about their diagnosis (49.5%) and financial resources (42.4%). After speaking with an Information Specialist, respondents changed how they advocated for themselves/loved one (23.8%), changed how they communicated with doctors/other providers and family/friends (both 15.9%), received financial assistance (22.2%), and took other actions. Among respondents who took actions, most said that the conversation(s) had positively impacted the action. Respondents who spoke with an Information Specialist more than once were more likely to report positive impacts, including changing how they advocate for themselves/loved one and communicate with providers (both p < 0.05). Respondents diagnosed more recently were also more likely to report positive impact, including changing the way they communicate with providers (p < 0.05). Findings highlight the value of cancer helplines and suggest ways they can be most effective.

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