"Living with cancer": oncological rehabilitation in Austria
Paper short abstract:
Medical advancements have improved people's quality of life when no cure of cancer is possible. The concept of rehabilitation is re-framed but discourses and practice vary greatly. Results of research carried out in Austria's first rehabilitation center using a mixed methods approach are shown.
Paper long abstract:
Medical advancements have considerably improved people's quality of life when no cure of cancer is possible. The concept of rehabilitation is re-framed with these developments as cancer patients fear recurrence of a tumor. Discourses about cancer and practices to assist people vary greatly. On the one hand, the health system's wish for healthy workers influences policies for rehabilitation, while on the other hand patients' aspirations to recover from the disease's effects and side effects as well as stigmatization and disability affect their lives considerably, requiring support to cope with this.
Rehabilitation in centers with stays of three weeks is offered by the health system to any patient in Austria. Patients' different aims as well as multi professional teams frame the daily routine. Former cancer patients reported in a pre-study conducted by the authors that they did not want to spend their time in a place where everybody is ill. This shows a discrepancy between the system's wish of healthy citizens and people's needs with respect to a disease which affects younger and younger people.
This presentation shows results of research carried out in an Austrian rehabilitation center using a mixed methods approach: (1) questionnaires are used in order to uncover the patients' needs and wishes before and after their stay (quantitative study), and (2) interviews focusing on the meanings of disease as well as recovery therefor are conducted with patients (qualitative study), (3) data about the staff and treatment offers complete the picture.
Anthropology of cure and recovery: collaboration and chronicity