Working with people affected by cancer –mixed methods exploration of practitioner perspectives in nutritional therapy

Granger, C.A., Pilkington, K., Draper, A. and Polley, M.J. (2016) Working with people affected by cancer –mixed methods exploration of practitioner perspectives in nutritional therapy. In: Society for Integrative Oncology 13th International Conference, 05 to end of 07 Nov 2016, Miami, Florida, USA.

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BACKGROUND: Nutrition can impact significantly on cancer occurrence, recurrence and survival. Many people affected by cancer seek individualised nutrition advice, but globally this remains an unmet need for many. Nutritional therapy (NT) practitioners provide personalised nutritional care, including complementary care for people affected by cancer. Until now, there is little documentation internationally of this area of NT practice. This mixed methods study explores NT practitioners’ perspectives, to support development of safe evidence-based practice with people affected by cancer. METHODS: On-line anonymised survey open to all UK registered NT practitioners collected data on demographics, barriers to practice, use of information, and needs for training and support when working with people affected by cancer. These aspects were then explored in depth using semi-structured interviews (n=20). Transcripts were analysed thematically, using Framework methodology. RESULTS: 274/888 (31%) completed the survey. NT practitioners working with people with cancer were more likely than those who did not to have additional health science qualifications (p=0.009). Many working with cancer patients worked alone. Lack of engagement with oncologists and lack of recognised specialist training were identified as significant barriers to practice in the UK. Practitioners experienced reward in empowering people affected by cancer to make dietary changes. Support and training needs identified included: managing emotional and psychological demands of cancer practice; specialist supervision and networking to share best practice. CONCLUSIONS: This first detailed exploration of NT practitioner perspectives on cancer practice identified important areas for developing training and support. Findings are informing development of practice guidelines and delivery of specialised training programmes, including better communication and integration with oncology to support safe evidence-based practice. This research also has potential to inform further exploration of NT practitioners’ perspectives within different integrative oncology settings internationally.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords: mixed methods;nutritional therapy;cancer;practitioner perspectives;
Subjects: University of Westminster > Science and Technology
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Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2016 14:03
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2016 14:03

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