To what extent are patients' needs met on oncology units? The phenomenon of care rationing

Evridiki Papastavrou, Andreas Charalambous, Stavros Vryonides, Christos Eleftheriou, Anastasios Merkouris
  • European Journal of Oncology Nursing, April 2016, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ejon.2016.01.002

Missed nursing care in oncology units

What is it about?

The aim of this study is to examine care omissions and their causes in oncology units. Methods: Participants were recruited from all of the hospitals in the Republic of Cyprus with oncology in-patient units. The data were collected with the MISSCARE questionnaire consisting of demographics, part A related to the elements of missed care and part B asking the reasons why nurses omit care. Results: One hundred and fifty seven registered nurses participated in the study (Response Rate=91.8%). The mean value for part A of the MISSCARE survey was moderate (2.31 from 4). The elements of care described as frequently or always missed were: turning the patient every 2 h (66.9%); ambulation three times a day or as needed (49.1%); mouth care (61.1%); patient teaching (37.6%); emotional support (32.5%); and attend any interdisciplinary conferences (87.9%). Reported causes included inadequate number of staff, urgent patient situations and unexpected rise in patient volume/unit acuity. Correlations showed that there is a relationship between care rationing and job satisfaction (r = 0.469, p < 0.05), with the less satisfied nurses reporting higher incidences of care omissions.

Why is it important?

It is one of the very few studies that have examined the phenomenon of rationing in nursing care in these very important for patient care settings


Cyprus University of Technology

This study contributes to our understanding of the area of care rationing in cancer settings, a phenomenon that merits further investigation. A possible connection between these results and the outcomes of the financial situation in Cyprus may be a warning sign to those with decision making power. The open acknowledgement of the fact that nursing care is not completed in such an important clinical setting and the explicit discussion of reported missed care as well as the underlying causes of the phenomenon may facilitate a better understanding of this issue, its impact on patients and nurses and possible solutions for preventing it.

The following have contributed to this page: STAVROS VRYONIDES