PROBLEM DEFINITION AND RESEARCH QUESTION
Cancer does not only have a physical impact on the oncological patient, but poses also a high psychological burden which has a negative influence on the quality of life. The WHO confirms this with their definition: health-related quality of life of the human being is an interaction between physical health, psychological health, the degree of independence, social relationships and values and norms in interaction with the environment.
Optimising the care offered and supporting self-care management with patients thus requires well-organised health and welfare care. Here, navigational interventions can have a major impact because they increase the oncological patient's knowledge of their illness. Since oncological patients are increasingly expected to manage self-care, it is important to provide targeted support to enable the patient to address factors that influence the course of the disease.
Integrating eHealth into oncological treatment can therefore be an effective strategy to promote quality of life. Access to information via an app to support the oncological patient is even considered as an added value by both patients and care providers. Therefore, in close cooperation with the Platform Transmural Oncological Care Antwerp (PTOZA), we are starting the project 'The Self-Navigating Oncological Map' that navigates the oncological patient during critical care moments and supports their self-care management. This application/website will primarily be available to patients and family carers, but also to professional and non-professional carers. The aim is to offer information at various points in the care process to promote effective self-care management in order to achieve long-term outcomes such as a good quality of life.
The research question is: How can oncological patients treated in a daycentre hospital be better informed and be able to find their way in the care offered at crucial moments in the care process via digital platforms?
This project is supported by the combination of different research methods. Information will be gathered from scientific literature together with a qualitative approach through interviews with oncological patients, their relatives and caregivers. As the project progresses, additional information will be obtained from a quantitative approach by means of survey research. The strength lies in the involvement of the end user at the start of the project, as a result of which the entire patient-journey is mapped out and adjustments can be made continually at the request of the user.