Brachytherapy for cervical cancer: guidelines to facilitate patient-centred care in a multidisciplinary environment

  • Deirdre Long Universitas Annex
  • Hester Sophia Friedrich-Nel Central University of Technology
  • Georgina Joubert University of the Free State
Keywords: brachytherapy, cervical cancer, guidelines, multidisciplinary team, patient-centred approach


Objective: To establish patient-centred guidelines to assist multidisciplinary members in providing quality care for cervical cancer patients receiving brachytherapy. Design: A qualitative research design. Main measures: This prospective research study was conducted from July 2012 to March 2014 and constituted five stages. Stage 1: 28 one-to-one semi-structured patient interviews were conducted, stage 2: development of the proposed guidelines, stage 3: two focus group reviews of the proposed guidelines, stage 4: refinement of these guidelines by review by national heads of brachytherapy units and stage 5: presentation of the final guidelines. Results: Four main themes with sub-themes were identified from the patient interviews. Patients’ perspectives of care were integrated into the development process of the proposed guidelines. Guidelines were developed to address the practice setting and define the collective and exclusive roles and responsibilities of the radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and oncology nurses. Content validity, clarity and applicability of the guidelines were confirmed. Conclusion: Guidelines were established integrating the patient experience into the development process. They provide a framework that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of each member of the multidisciplinary team. Members are encouraged to implement the guidelines to ensure that quality patient-centred care is delivered, rendering patient satisfaction. (Full text available online at South Afr J Gynaecol Oncol 2016; DOI: 10.1080/20742835.2016.1212968

Author Biographies

Deirdre Long, Universitas Annex
Department of Oncology Universitas Annex
Hester Sophia Friedrich-Nel, Central University of Technology
Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences Central University of Technology
Georgina Joubert, University of the Free State
Faculty of Health Sciences University of the Free State
Research Articles