Outcome of Supportive Talks in a Hospital Setting: Insights from Cancer Patients and Their Relatives

  • Loni Ledderer
  • Karen la Cour
  • Helle Ploug Hansen
Original Research Article



In psychosocial cancer rehabilitation, relatives are often central to patients’ experiences and management of their cancer disease, and they need to be actively involved in rehabilitation. To address this need we developed a psychosocial rehabilitation intervention. As part of the intervention, lung or gynecological cancer patients and a relative as a pair were offered three supportive talks initiated on the date of admission and completed within 2 months.


The objective of this study was to qualitatively assess the outcome of supportive talks from the pairs’ perspectives and to provide a nuanced understanding of psychosocial support offered to pairs in a hospital setting in Denmark.


Using a qualitative approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews with pairs receiving supportive talks and pairs receiving usual care. The interviews focused on the pairs’ experiences of psychosocial supportive talks in a hospital setting. A constant comparative analysis was applied to identify themes related to the ways the pairs experienced the talks.


The analysis revealed two main themes: ‘appreciation of the supportive talks’ and ‘the influence of the hospital setting’. The majority of pairs valued the focus on relationship and interpersonal communication, although they appreciated various aspects of the talks. The hospital setting provided valuable resources (trained nurses and medical expertise), but existing clinical routines challenged the implementation of the supportive talks.


The supportive talks were appreciated as psychosocial support in line with the objective, or as information on cancer treatment and routine care. The implementation of a new rehabilitation practice was challenged by the influence of the hospital setting.


Rehabilitation Program Hospital Setting Medical Interview Psychosocial Support Joint Involvement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Source of funding

The study was funded by the Danish Cancer Society (grant number OKV 08008).

Author contributions

Loni Ledderer has overall responsibility for the content of the manuscript. She led the project and was primarily responsible for the manuscript preparation with contributions from Helle Ploug Hansen and Karen la Cour. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.


Jakob Kragstrup, Ole Mogensen, Erik Jakobsen, and Helle Ploug Hansen conceived the study and developed the design of the overall study. We thank the patients and their relatives who participated in the study. We acknowledge the work of the project nurse, Biddy Madsen, and the important collaboration with nurses from Odense University Hospital: Gitte Bekker, Susanne Pedersen, and Kamila A. Holt, and also the staff at the Rehabilitation Center Dallund. The Danish Milieu for Humanistic Cancer Research (http://www.mifohuk.dk) provided support for discussions and writing seminars.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest, and the authors alone are responsible for the content of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loni Ledderer
    • 1
  • Karen la Cour
    • 2
  • Helle Ploug Hansen
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Public HealthAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Health, Man and Society, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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