Dependency in elderly people newly diagnosed with cancer - A mixed-method study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: This study, based on data from an empirical investigation, combines quantitative and qualitative approaches in a mixed-method design to explore dependency in elderly people newly diagnosed with cancer. Methods and sample: 101 elderly people newly diagnosed with cancer were included in the quantitative part, with 16 in the qualitative part. A questionnaire concerning quality of life and dependency issues was developed. For the qualitative part, open-ended interviews were conducted to get closer to the experience of dependency. Results: Combining the two methods was seen as complementary. Involvement of the patient in decision-making related to contact with the primary and secondary health-care systems is an important element in reducing the perception of dependency and maintaining the Quality of Life (QoL) of elderly cancer patients. A more precise intervention in this patient population can be achieved by assessing. Activities of Daily Living (ADL) in the elderly. Receiving assistance from children seems to increase perceived dependency and to affect QoL negatively. Conclusions: The results of this mixed-method study indicate that dependency had a negative influence on the elderly with cancer. Being dependent on others was experienced as deterioration. Fatigue represents a significant risk factor for decreased functional ability and is experienced as a reminder of being old and the situation as being out of control. Patients may benefit from health-care professionals acquiring a complete picture of dependency and cancer-related fatigue in the elderly through a systematic assessment, where for example, functional limitations related to fatigue can be determined. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Bente Appel Esbensen
  • Bibbi Thomé
  • Thordis Thomsen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nursing


  • Dependency, Elderly with cancer, Mixed-method, ADL, Quality of life, Nursing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000)