March 4, 2007

IPP-SHR - Relocation For Cancer Treatment Major Stress For Patients

Research by the International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research (IPP-SHR) indicates that relocation for specialist treatment is a financially and emotionally stressful experience for patients diagnosed with leukaemia and associated cancers, as well as for their families.

The study found that in an Australian context, relocation to metropolitan hospitals represented the only means by which patients from rural and regional areas could access the specialised interventions necessary to treat their cancers.

Relocation was found to subject patients and their families to a range of emotional, practical and social stresses.

High transport and accommodation costs, in addition to the disruption of employment activities of both patients and family members were commonly associated with relocation. These were found to result in extreme financial hardship for many families.

According to IPP-SHR research, Dr Pam McGrath, "the patient and their family have to deal with the stress of diagnosis and treatment away from the comfort of family and friends, and cope with the unfamiliar environment of a metropolitan hospital."

The study revealed that governments and health care providers have an important role to play in easing the stress and hardship associated with relocation.

"This can be done by ensuring that infrastructure to support travel and accommodation for relocated patients and families is well resourced and administrated, and immediately accessible to those in need," Dr McGrath said.

Additional details of this research can be found at

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