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Quality of care and emotional support from the inpatient cancer patient’s perspective



Patient satisfaction and emotional support are crucial elements of cancer care. Little is known, however, about which areas of care are important from the patient’s perspective and the roles emotional distress and support play in this context.


Multicenter prospective study was conducted (n = 396 cancer patients; t1 = after admission to hospital, t2 = before discharge). Quality of care was measured with the quality of care from the patient’s perspective questionnaire, and emotional distress was measured with the hospital anxiety and depression scale. Additional questions regarding emotional support wished (at t1) and provided (at t2) were administered.


The patients reported that the domains of care most important to them were as follows: respect and commitment of the physicians, information before procedures, care equipment, and medical care. The areas where improvements are most obviously needed were nutrition, participation, clarity about who is responsible for personal care, and having the possibility of speaking in private with nurses and psycho-oncologists. Fifty-six percent of the patients were highly emotionally distressed, 84% wanted support from physicians, 76% from nurses, 33% from psychologists, and 7% from a pastor.


Emotional support is a crucial part of patient satisfaction and should be provided by several members of the oncological team, especially the patients’ physicians. In turn, it is crucial that medical professionals be equipped with good communication skills.

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Correspondence to S. Singer.

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Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (# 01ZZ0106).

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Singer, S., Götze, H., Möbius, C. et al. Quality of care and emotional support from the inpatient cancer patient’s perspective. Langenbecks Arch Surg 394, 723–731 (2009).

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  • Patient satisfaction
  • Quality of health care
  • Needs assessment
  • Psychology
  • Neoplasms