The Dutch cancer information helpline: More critical patients after 10 years

Maastricht University, Department of Health Education and Promotion, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Patient Education and Counseling (Impact Factor: 2.2). 11/2006; 63(1-2):215-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2005.10.011
Source: PubMed


This study was conducted to assess the impact and evaluation of the Dutch national cancer information helpline and to assess differences in evaluation and impact with a comparable study conducted in 1994.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among all callers from the target groups patients, friends/relatives and the general public who contacted the information helpline from December 2003 until March 2004 (response 59%; N=665).
All characteristics of the helpline (provided information, educator's communication skills, and telephone aspects) were evaluated positively by a large majority of the respondents. All groups evaluated the impact of the helpline on overall satisfaction, anxiety, and meeting expectations positively. However, the three target groups showed different predictors for the outcome measures.
It can be concluded that 10 years after the first study, callers are still very positive in their evaluation. However, the different characteristics of the helpline are nowadays slightly more negatively judged, particularly by patients. The installation of the voice response system (VRS) as well as the fact that people have more easily access to information about their disease might account for these differences in evaluation.
To maintain the positive evaluations helpline educators as well as the VRS need to attune more to the different needs and problems of the target groups and provide tailored information.

Download full-text


Available from: Lilian Lechner
  • Source
    • "The follow-up questionnaire evaluated whether they had acted on the advice they had received. Measures were based on those used by Bos and colleagues [5] and Reubsaet and colleagues [4] "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Health information helplines have an important function in health education, prevention and counseling. Information and help services are increasingly provided online. This study focuses on the differences and similarities between online help services and telephone services. The telephone service of the Dutch AIDS STI helpline was compared to its e-mail equivalent. After consulting the helpline service, both callers and e-mailers (N(tot) = 455) were asked to participate in a survey that evaluated their background characteristics, contacting reasons, and satisfaction with the specific service and information received. The survey also included questions regarding the advice received from the helpline. A follow-up measure 4 weeks after the baseline survey evaluated to what extent clients acted upon the advice. The study shows that both services are positively evaluated and are equally persuasive in their counseling. Differences between callers and e-mailers were found regarding background characteristics, content of the consultation, satisfaction, and the advice received. It can be concluded that online health information services are an important addition to, but not a replacement for, the traditional telephone helplines. In order to provide an optimal health service to a wide public, both online and telephone counseling should be offered.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Patient Education and Counseling
  • Source
    • "A literature review describes multiple “mental health literacy” initiatives in Australia but none in the Netherlands [18]. It might also be the case that Dutch people have a more critical attitude towards or higher expectation of mental health services available in the Netherlands, since that seemed the case in an earlier national comparison study [34] and in cancer patients [31]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study of Australian and Dutch people with anxiety or depressive disorder aims to examine people's perceived needs and barriers to care, and to identify possible similarities and differences. Data from the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being and the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety were combined into one data set. The Perceived Need for Care Questionnaire was taken in both studies. Logistic regression analyses were performed to check if similarities or differences between Australia and the Netherlands could be observed. In both countries, a large proportion had unfulfilled needs and self-reliance was the most frequently named barrier to receive care. People from the Australian sample (N = 372) were more likely to perceive a need for medication (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.3-2.5), counselling (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.0-2.0) and practical support (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.2-2.7), and people's overall needs in Australia were more often fully met compared with those of the Dutch sample (N = 610). Australians were more often pessimistic about the helpfulness of medication (OR 3.8; 95% CI 1.4-10.7) and skills training (OR 3.0; 95% CI 1.1-8.2) and reported more often financial barriers for not having received (enough) information (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.1-5.5) or counselling (OR 5.9; 95% CI 2.9-11.9). In both countries, the vast majority of mental health care needs are not fulfilled. Solutions could be found in improving professionals' skills or better collaboration. Possible explanations for the found differences in perceived need and barriers to care are discussed; these illustrate the value of examining perceived need across nations and suggest substantial commonalities of experience across the two countries.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Social Psychiatry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To examine the psychological impact of a referral and telephone intervention, involving information and support, among men with colorectal cancer (CRC) and prostate cancer. 571 newly diagnosed male CRC (N=182) and prostate (N=389) cancer patients were block-randomised into three arms. In the two intervention arms, the specialist actively referred men to a Cancer Helpline. In Active Referral--4 outcalls, men received calls from the Helpline within 1 week of diagnosis, and at 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months post-diagnosis. In Active Referral--1 outcall, men received one call within 1 week of diagnosis. In the control arm, Passive Referral, patients were referred to the Helpline, with contact at their initiative. Participants completed scales measuring cancer-specific distress, anxiety and depression at study entry, then 4, 7 and 12 months post-diagnosis. Random effects regression models compared rates of change in these outcomes between study arms. At the first outcall, over 85% of participants in both intervention arms discussed treatment management and psychological/emotional issues. Among the Active Referral--4 outcalls arm, over 80% of participants discussed psychological/emotional issues at each call. Mean changes over time in cancer-specific distress, anxiety and depression were similar between study arms. Although men were willing to discuss psychosocial issues via the telephone, we found no psychological impact. Further research is required to determine whether the intervention is more effective for patients who do not have psychosocial support or have unmet information needs.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2009 · Psycho-Oncology
Show more