Integrated psychological care in head and neck cancer: Views from health care providers, patients, and supports

Michelle T. Jesse, Henry Ford Health System
Michael Ryan, Henry Ford Health System
Anne Eshelman, Henry Ford Health System
T Ghanem, Henry Ford Health System
Amy M. Williams, Henry Ford Health System
Lisa R. Miller-Matero, Henry Ford Health System
Kathleen Yaremchuk, Henry Ford Health System


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: An evaluation by head-and-neck cancer (HNC) staff, patients, and patient support feedback regarding integrated psychological care and perceived benefit based on patient characteristics.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey of HNC staff, patients, and their primary supports; and retrospective chart review of psychiatric characteristics of HNC patients.

METHODS: HNC staff, patients (who were evaluated by the integrated psychologist), and their primary supports were given questionnaires on their perception of benefit of including a psychologist in the evaluation and treatment of HNC patients. Also, a retrospective chart review on patients who were psychiatrically evaluated by the psychologist on sociodemographics and psychiatric characteristics.

RESULTS: Overall, integration of a psychologist was well received by patients, supports, and staff. Younger patients reported greater satisfaction with the availability of the psychologist than older patients (P = .04), and patients with reported psychiatric histories (diagnoses in remission) indicated more satisfaction with the psychologist in relation to managing distress than patients who denied psychiatric histories (P = .03); however, patients who were currently smoking tended to report lower satisfaction with the psychologist helping with distress than those who were past/never smokers (P = .06).

CONCLUSIONS: Integrated psychological care has the potential to improve care provided for HNC patients.