Purpose The aim of this critical review is to evaluate the evidence, identifying and exploring what is known about the emotional and social needs, and unmet needs, of teenagers (10–24 years old) with cancer who are treated in hospital and discussion about the role of the Nurse to meet these needs.
Design Narrative literature review
Method A comprehensive search of five electronic databases was undertaken between the years 2004 – 2016 inclusive. Inclusion criteria were studies relating teenagers’ experiences of being treated for cancer in a hospital setting particularly looking at their psychosocial and unmet needs, incorporating the role of the nurse with an aim to improve on the delivery of care.
Results Ten papers met the criteria for inclusion in the review. Five major themes emerged from the literature: (1) psychosocial needs of young people with cancer (2) teenage development (3) the ward environment (4) the role of the Nurse and (5) attitudes of healthcare professionals.
Conclusion There is limited literature relating to the treatment of teenagers and young adults as inpatients in hospital. The review highlights that the diagnosis affects several aspects of a young persons life impacting on their social and emotional well-being. The research shows that there is a disparity in the care of teenagers, partly because they fall in between children and adults.
Relevance to clinical practice The literature supports that nursing teenage patients on teenage wards and evidence suggests that this contributes to the quality of care in relation to psychosocial needs. The emotional and psychological support of patients and families requires experience, stamina and commitment to this field of nursing.
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