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This study investigated the challenges and support needs of adults aged 75 and older during and after treatment for a blood cancer to aid targeted supportive resource development.
Adults aged 75 and older with a blood cancer participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews about challenges and unmet support needs. Participants recruited through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society were (1) in treatment or previously in treatment for a blood cancer at age 75 or older and (2) living in the United States or its territories. A thematic analysis was conducted with findings compared between 2 groups: (1) chronic -living with a chronic blood cancer; (2) acute -living with an acute blood cancer or both an acute and chronic blood cancer.
Participants (n = 50) ranged from 75 to 91 years old. Both groups described similar experiences and identified 5 challenges and support needs: (1) socioemotional impact, (2) activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living (ADLs/iADLs), (3) uncertainty management, (4) treatment-related stressors, and (5) COVID-19-related strain. Properties for these themes illustrate challenges and support needs, with some differences between groups. For instance, those living with a chronic blood cancer highlighted financial strain with treatment-related stressors, while those with an acute blood cancer focused more on iADLs.
Significance of results
Findings inform an agenda for targeted resource development for older adults with a blood cancer nearing the end of the life span. Results demonstrate the need for supportive services and family communication interventions to help patients manage iADLs and navigate socioemotional needs and challenges.
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