Ugeskr Læger 2010;172(4):274-278
Summary Head and neck cancer patients' experiences with accelerated diagnostic and treatment programs Ugeskr Læger 2010;172(4):274-278 Introduction: In 2007 Aarhus University Hospital succeeded in accelerating diagnostic and treatment programs for head and neck cancer patients. The median period from referral to initiation of treatment was reduced from 57 to 29 calendar days. This article reports the results of a qualitative study, which examined whether it was possible for patients to keep up with the program mentally as well as emotionally. Material and methods: The study is based on semi-structured interviews with 20 head and neck cancer patients. Results: The patients expressed great satisfaction with the accelerated programmes. Even though patients experienced the accelerated programs as very overwhelming, the vast majority did not at any time wish to postpone continuation of the programme. The study, however, shows that what is most important for the patient is fast treatment, good information and communication and good personal contact with the staff during the programme. Conclusion: Repetition of information and programme continuity is important as these factors allow patients to "keep up" with the programme. Personal contact and communication between patient and staff is essential for a successful accelerated programme. Time of diagnosis, scheduling of a date for the initial treatment or the start-up of the initial treatment are crucial turning points during the programme - points at which patients started feeling more calm.