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Couples coping with nutrition-related problems in advanced cancer : a qualitative study in primary care

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Abstract
Purpose: Nutrition-related problems are common in patients with advanced cancer. They can disrupt daily life and routines. This study aimed to explore how couples cope with this source of distress. Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was adopted using semi-structured interviews. Seven couples, each consisting of an advanced cancer patient and his or her co-habiting life partner, participated. The Qualitative Analysis Guide of Leuven (QUAGOL) was used as a guide to facilitate the analysis process. Results: When a patient communicates nutrition-related problems to the partner, individual coping is often complemented by interactive couple-coping pathways, serving two resilient coping strategies: maintaining normality and creating a new normality. These pathways can have either a practical, an emotional or a distant orientation. Different couple-coping pathways can be observed in the same couple when they are dealing with either one or multiple nutrition-related problems. Some couples, however, seem to cope more rigidly, often those with less observed 'we-ness'. Conclusions: Nutrition-related problems are inherent to advanced cancer and are perceived as health-threatening. Couple-coping with nutrition-related problems is a dynamic and interactive process leaning on different coping pathways. There is no evidence that one pathway is superior to another, as they all serve a resilient coping strategy. Our findings can assist homecare nurses and other professional caregivers in providing psychological support and advice to couples confronted with nutrition-related problems in advanced cancer. Future research should shed light on whether an unsuitable match in coping styles within a couple is one of the precursors of non-resilient outcomes.
Keywords
Nutrition-related problems, Advanced cancer, Cancer cachexia syndrome, Couple-coping, Nursing, Primary care, Palliative, Qualitative analysis guide of Leuven, Qualitative study, Interview study, EATING-RELATED DISTRESS, WEIGHT-LOSS, PALLIATIVE CARE, LIFE, EXPERIENCES, RESILIENCE, INTERVIEWS, FREQUENCY, SYMPTOMS, PARTNERS

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Chicago
Opsomer, Sophie, Sofie Joossens, Claudia De Wit, Emelien Lauwerier, and Peter Pype. 2019. “Couples Coping with Nutrition-related Problems in Advanced Cancer : a Qualitative Study in Primary Care.” European Journal of Oncology Nursing 38: 76–84.
APA
Opsomer, S., Joossens, S., De Wit, C., Lauwerier, E., & Pype, P. (2019). Couples coping with nutrition-related problems in advanced cancer : a qualitative study in primary care. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY NURSING, 38, 76–84.
Vancouver
1.
Opsomer S, Joossens S, De Wit C, Lauwerier E, Pype P. Couples coping with nutrition-related problems in advanced cancer : a qualitative study in primary care. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY NURSING. 2019;38:76–84.
MLA
Opsomer, Sophie et al. “Couples Coping with Nutrition-related Problems in Advanced Cancer : a Qualitative Study in Primary Care.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY NURSING 38 (2019): 76–84. Print.
@article{8591748,
  abstract     = {Purpose: Nutrition-related problems are common in patients with advanced cancer. They can disrupt daily life and routines. This study aimed to explore how couples cope with this source of distress. 
Methods: A qualitative descriptive study design was adopted using semi-structured interviews. Seven couples, each consisting of an advanced cancer patient and his or her co-habiting life partner, participated. The Qualitative Analysis Guide of Leuven (QUAGOL) was used as a guide to facilitate the analysis process. 
Results: When a patient communicates nutrition-related problems to the partner, individual coping is often complemented by interactive couple-coping pathways, serving two resilient coping strategies: maintaining normality and creating a new normality. These pathways can have either a practical, an emotional or a distant orientation. Different couple-coping pathways can be observed in the same couple when they are dealing with either one or multiple nutrition-related problems. Some couples, however, seem to cope more rigidly, often those with less observed 'we-ness'. 
Conclusions: Nutrition-related problems are inherent to advanced cancer and are perceived as health-threatening. Couple-coping with nutrition-related problems is a dynamic and interactive process leaning on different coping pathways. There is no evidence that one pathway is superior to another, as they all serve a resilient coping strategy. Our findings can assist homecare nurses and other professional caregivers in providing psychological support and advice to couples confronted with nutrition-related problems in advanced cancer. Future research should shed light on whether an unsuitable match in coping styles within a couple is one of the precursors of non-resilient outcomes.},
  author       = {Opsomer, Sophie and Joossens, Sofie and De Wit, Claudia and Lauwerier, Emelien and Pype, Peter},
  issn         = {1462-3889},
  journal      = {EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY NURSING},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {76--84},
  title        = {Couples coping with nutrition-related problems in advanced cancer : a qualitative study in primary care},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejon.2018.12.006},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2019},
}

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