Cancer Counseling By Telephone Help-Line: The Ucla Psychosocial Cancer Counseling Line
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Cancer Counseling By Telephone Help-Line: The Ucla Psychosocial Cancer Counseling Line

  • 05/01/1985

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 100(3):308-315
Filetype[PDF-1.90 MB]

  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
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    • Description:
      This paper describes the Psychosocial Cancer Counseling Line (PCCL) of the University of California at Los Angeles, a National Cancer Institute-supported communications project in which the feasibility of providing psychological support to cancer patients and their significant others by telephone has been explored. Staffed by a combination of professional and paraprofessional volunteer counselors, the PCCL provides (a) direct telephone counseling to cancer patients, their families, and their friends; (b) referrals, when necessary, to community resources relevant to the psychosocial needs of callers; and (c) telephone consultation and information to health professionals. Call-record data reveal that the service is used mainly by family and friends of patients (45 percent of callers) and by patients themselves (23 percent), who represent a wide range of cancer diagnoses. Demographically, the modal caller is a well-educated, white, non-Hispanic woman in her thirties. Among the many different psychosocial concerns presented by callers, the most frequently discussed issues are requests for referral to a support group, anxiety associated with the disease or its treatment, family problems engendered or exacerbated by illness, and difficulties in doctor-patient communications. On the basis of the PCCL experience, the author argues that a telephone counseling service can perform important functions within the broad spectrum of psychosocial services needed by cancer patients and their families. These functions include provision of information, needs assessment, linkage to health professionals, psychological interventions during intervals between in-person contacts, provision of continuing emotional support not available elsewhere, and outreach to psychologically underserved populations.
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