Journal Article
Multicenter Study
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Piloting a new cross-sector model of care to support parents with cancer: feasibility and acceptability of the Parent Support Worker role.

PURPOSE: A new Parent Support Worker (PSW) service was piloted in three Australian hospitals. This study assesses the feasibility and acceptability (including preliminary effectiveness) of the service in supporting cancer patients with children.

METHODS: A multi-site, mixed-methods study collected quantitative and qualitative data on the effectiveness of the service (pre post-test, n = 36), qualitative and quantitative data on acceptability of the service (survey, n = 43), and qualitative data on acceptability (semi-structured interviews, n = 13). Feasibility was assessed through rates of service uptake amongst referred parents.

RESULTS: Of 1133 parents referred, 810 (71%) accepted to receive the service, suggesting high interest in PSW support. Interviewees likewise reported that the service was accessible and facilitated further referrals, indicating good feasibility. Surveys completed three months after accessing PSW support showed high acceptability and satisfaction. Additionally, there was preliminary evidence of service impacts: parents' distress, parenting concerns, parenting efficacy, and stress about situations of concern improved significantly from pre- to post-service (all p < 0.005). Interviewees further described how their emotional coping and confidence to support and communicate with their children had improved through contact with the service.

CONCLUSION: The PSW service, integrated into a novel cross-sector model of care, showed to be feasible and acceptable to parent patients and their partners and improved psychological and parenting outcomes. The study suggests refinements to the service and the need for future larger studies to explore the effectiveness of the service in improving parents' outcomes. This study complements previous evidence on the implementation of the PSW service in hospitals.

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