Psychosocial support for patients and their families Untreated, distress may have long-term detrimental consequences for both patients and their families. Comprehensive psychosocial support is designed to preserve, restore or enhance quality of life:

preventive interventions will avoid predictable illness secondary to treatment and/or disease; detecting problems earlier rather than later leads to better quality of life and survival

rehabilitation interventions are essential when a cure is likely, and their aim is to control or eliminate any residual cancer- related disability; supportive rehabilitation will lessen disability related to chronic disease and/or to active treatment

palliative interventions aim to improve or maintain patient comfort when curative treatment is no longer an option.

Psychosocial support for health care professionals Physicians must deal with breaking bad news, informing patients about highly complex treatment procedures, asking for informed consent, and comforting anxious and depressed patients and family members. Beyond this, to promote patient decision-making, compli- ance with treatment and satisfaction, healthcare professionals need to adapt information to each patient’s needs and therefore must take into account contextual, cognitive and emotional barriers, a task for which they are not always adequately trained. The psycho- oncology team provides support and training for the development of such skills.

smoking cessation programmes (see p. 18)

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the Psycho-Oncology Clinic aims to help patients, their families and health care professionals to cope with cancer and its consequences, with support always adapted to specific individual needs. PrOF DAriuS rAzAvi, Head of the Psycho-Oncology Clinic

Main areas Distress screening Psycho-social support for inpatients and outpatients and their families

Smoking cessation programmes

Communication skills for healthcare professionals