Learning Objective 1: to understand the needs of the patients and their spouses that were undergoing esophagectomy surgery as a result of malignant tumor
Learning Objective 2: to understand the experience and the coping process of the patients and their spouses during the hospitalization, before and after the surgery
Esophageal cancer is a chronic illness that harms the patient’s welfare physically and mentally. It causes to a significant illness that influences the quality of life and the basic aspects of the everyday life of the patient and his family.
Methods: combined qualitative research
Results: We found at the research dramatic changes in everyday life of the patients and their spouses:
There have been changes in roles inside the family, in the relationships between the married couple and changes in the relationships between different social networks.
Constantly dealing with food that usually represents pleasure, now it has a negative meaning: patients dealing with the amount and type of food they consumed, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain,and the thoughts about the causes to these phenomena that happened after food consumption.
The spouses feel a larger distress than the patients, though level of anxiety gets slightly lower after the surgery among the spouses, but the level of depression increases because of the daily chores and the fear of staying behind after the death of a beloved spouse.
However, among the patients there is a trend of decrease in levels of anxiety and depression after the surgery. This can be explained by the high level of physical and moral support from the staff during the hospitalization and following month.
Conclusion: For us as a medical staff there is a high importance in a realizing the ways of coping for a patient with a threatening life disease and his family. The main coping method is to look for sources of support and information. That’s why we have to be aware of the mental distress of the whole family and suggest to them the best response.