An oncology volunteer support organization: The benefits and fit within the health care system

Linda Edgar, Jean Remmer, Zeev Rosberger, Bruce Rapkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Psychosocial support programs and organizations provide a range of resources to cancer patients and their families. In spite of well-documented research attesting to their positive impact, such organizations are often not well integrated into the medical system. This paper examines the benefits to patients and families of using Hope and Cope, a voluntary support system. Also, it explores the ways in which these benefits may relate to the health care team. A total of 121 patient users and non-users of Hope and Cope and 50 family members were surveyed about their specific needs and how they were met. The users and non-users assessed their needs for information and emotional support differently: those with greater needs utilized the resources and were satisfied with the outcomes, while those with fewer needs did not. The need for emotional support significantly discriminated users of Hope and Cope from non-users. Participants saw the program as helping them manage side effects, handle medical treatment, and know which questions to ask their physicians. This study concludes that patients appear to choose wisely according to their needs and that organizations such as Hope and Cope help. However, questions are raised about the relationship between the health care team and voluntary support programs. How and when information about resources is conveyed to patients continues to be problematic. Responses to these concerns may lead to strategies to increased collaboration between oncology volunteer support services and the health care team.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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