In-house information about and contact with self-help groups in breast cancer patients: associated with patient and hospital characteristics?
The number of breast cancer patients who are informed about and have contact with patient self-help groups (SHGs) during their hospital stay varies across hospitals. The aim of this study is to investigate which patient and hospital characteristics contribute to these differences. Multilevel regression analysis was applied, using data on hospital characteristics and data from a patient survey, which catalogued the disease and socio-demographic characteristics of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, and recorded if they were informed about and had contact with SHGs during their hospital stay. Data from 2639 patients from 82 hospitals were analysed. The odds of being informed about SHGs were significantly lower if patients were treated at a teaching hospital. Patients aged 40 to 59 years significantly more often reported that they were informed about SHGs than patients aged 60 to 69 years. Patients with the highest education certificates significantly more often reported that they both were informed about and have had contact with SHGs. These results suggest that in teaching hospitals, information provided to patients about SHGs is reduced. Furthermore, patients are differentially given information about SHGs and have different levels of contact with SHGs, based on their age and education.