Supporting cancer patients with work-related problems through an oncological occupational physician: a feasibility study

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Abstract

To evaluate the feasibility of an oncological occupational physician (OOP) who is trained in oncological work-related problems, and in providing work-related support to cancer patients within the curative setting. We assessed facilitators and barriers that affect the activities of an OOP, and the satisfaction of the OOPs and patients with this new form of health care. Interviews were held with (1) OOPs (N = 13) to assess facilitators, barriers and their satisfaction with their ability to give supportive care and (2) cancer patients (N = 8) to assess their satisfaction concerning consulting an OOP. The main facilitators were positive feedback from health care providers and patients about the received care and support that the OOP had given, and the additional knowledge of the OOPs about cancer and work-related problems. Major barriers for being active as an OOP were lack of financial support for the OOP and the unfamiliarity of patients and health care providers with the specialised occupational physician. Both OOPs and the specialised knowledge and additional training of the OOPs facilitated providing support to cancer patients and survivors with work-related problems. Familiarity with the specialised occupational physician and financial support should be improved.

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