Sarah Lea

Dr Sarah Lea


S Lea, R Taylor, F Gibson (2019)P79 The importance of the physical environment in creating a social environment for adolescents and young adults in hospital, In: BMJ paediatrics open3(Suppl 1)pp. A33-A34 BMJ Publishing Group LTD

Aim There has been a welcome trend toward seperate services for young people. This has been in direct response to young people consistently calling for dedicated hospital services for their age group. Despite this trend, specialist cancer units for adolescents and young adults (AYA) only provide care for approximately half of AYA in England, the rest being cared for in child or adult environments. Previous research has described the importance of the environment on experiences of cancer care but this has centred mainly on specialist units only. It is unknown whether this is the same or different for all places of care. This study explored the impact of the physcial healthcare environment on young people and professionals’ social experiences of care and care delivery. Methods A multiple-case study was conducted in 24 hospitals in England between 2014 and 2015. It included: semi-structured interviews with AYA (n=29) and healthcare professionals (n=41); and observations (total=120hrs). Thematic analysis was used to analyse transcripts and field notes. Results Three key themes were apparent in the data relating to the environment: the physical environment; the social environment; and the relationship between the two. The provision of a physical space for socialising was seen to be vital as it enabled AYA to come together, engage in peer support opportunities, socialise with existing peers, and to spend time with their family away from their hospital bed. Although fun, bright décor was described as beneficial, the positive impact of the social space had greater significance. The majority of those in child and adult-focussed care environments reported poor experiences of social interaction when in hospital. Conclusions Poor experiences of AYA receiving care in adult care settings has been identified in previous research. The findings in this present study have compared these experiences against care received in bespoke AYA care settings: advocating for the provision of dedicated spaces which bring young people together. Services must be skilfully developed to create optimal spaces to deliver holistic, age-appropriate care. This will assist the structure, design and commissioning of AYA health services that are fit for purpose.

Sarah Lea, Ana Martins, Lorna A Fern, Matthew Bassett, Maria Cable, Gary Doig, Sue Morgan, Louise Soanes, Michael Whelan, Rachel M Taylor (2020)The support and information needs of adolescents and young adults with cancer when active treatment ends, In: BMC cancer20(1)697pp. 697-697

The end of active treatment is a period of high stress for young people with cancer, but limited literature exists about their information and support needs during this phase. This study aimed to understand the needs of young people with cancer, how these needs are currently being met, and how best to provide information and support at the end of active treatment. This was a multi-stage, mixed methods study exploring the end of treatment experience from the perspectives of young people, and the healthcare professionals caring for them. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with healthcare professionals, which informed a survey administered nationally. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews were conducted with young people. These combined results informed a co-design workshop to develop recommendations. Telephone interviews were conducted with 12 healthcare professionals and 49 completed the online survey. A total of 11 young people aged 19-26 years (female = 8; 73%) were interviewed. The stakeholder workshop was attended by both healthcare professionals (n = 8) and young people (n = 3). At the end of treatment young people experience numerous ongoing physical issues including pain, fatigue and insomnia; in addition to a range of psychosocial and emotional issues including anxiety, fear of recurrence and isolation. The top three priorities for end of treatment care were: earlier provision and preparation around on-going impact of cancer and cancer treatment; standardised and continued follow-up of young people's emotional well-being; and development of more information and resources specific to young people. The access and availability of appropriate information and sources of support at the end of treatment is variable and inequitable. Young people's needs would be more effectively met by timely, structured and accessible information, and support provision at the end of treatment to both prepare and enable adaptation across their transition to living with and beyond cancer. This will require both organisational and practical adjustments in care delivery, in addition to a renewed and updated understanding of what the 'end of treatment' transition process means.

Sarah Lea, Ana Martins, Maria Cable, Lorna A. Fern, Sue Morgan, Louise Soanes, Michael Whelan, Rachel M. Taylor (2021)Exploring Young People's Experience of Ending Active Cancer Treatment When the "Little Cancer Treatment Bubble" Pops, In: Cancer nursing44(4)pp. 288-294 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Background The end of active cancer treatment is described as a stressful period for adolescents and young adults (AYAs). However, research evidence describing the experience of AYAs as they transition from active treatment into follow-up care is scarce. Objective We aimed to understand AYAs' experiences within the first 12 months of ending active treatment. Methods Data were collected using semistructured interviews, which were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative analysis of transcripts was used to identify key themes/subthemes. Results Eleven AYAs (8 female participants), diagnosed with cancer aged 17 to 25 years and 19 to 26 years at point of interview, participated. At time of interview, 7 were within 6 months of treatment completion, and in 4 participants, treatment ended 6 to 12 months prior. Three main themes were identified: (1) challenges of social reintegration and self-identity, (2) expectations versus the lived experience of ending treatment, and (3) sudden loss of the safe "bubble" of treatment. Conclusions Adolescents and young adults were underprepared for and challenged by the unexpected emotional and physical consequences of ending active cancer treatment. Implications for Practice Young people require information and support to prepare for ending active treatment and reintegration to everyday life. Preparation for the short- and long-term physical, social, and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis even when treatment ends will assist young people in managing this transition. Further research is required to develop and test interventions to provide timely, structured, and equitable information and support at the end of treatment to better prepare AYAs for the challenges they may face as treatment ends.

Sarah Lea, Ana Martins, Matt Bassett, Maria Cable, Gary Doig, Lorna A. Fern, Sue Morgan, Louise Soanes, Sam Smith, Michael Whelan, Rachel M. Taylor (2018)Issues experienced and support provided to adolescents and young adults at the end of active treatment for cancer: A rapid review of the literature, In: European journal of cancer care27(6)pp. e12972-n/a
Sarah Lea, Ana Martins, Sue Morgan, Jamie Cargill, Rachel M. Taylor, Lorna A. Fern (2018)Online information and support needs of young people with cancer: a participatory action research study, In: Adolescent health, medicine and therapeutics9pp. 121-135 Dove Medical Press Ltd

Purpose: The Internet is a fully integrated part of young people's life and it is pivotal that online resources are developed to maximize the potential of the Internet to support those living with and beyond cancer. We sought to understand how young people with a cancer diagnosis use the Internet and to what extent information and support needs are met by existing online resources. Patients and methods: This was a participatory action research study involving 21 young people participating in workshops and individual interviews. Participants aged 13-24 years were diagnosed with a range of cancers. Young people were on treatment or had completed treatment; some had experienced relapse. Workshops consisted of participatory methods including focus group discussions, interactive activities, and individual thought, encompassing online resources used; when, how and what they were searching for, whether resources were helpful and how they could be improved. Results: Young people reported using communication platforms, entertainment sites, social media, medical websites, charity websites, and search engines to find information and support. Different online use and needs were described throughout their cancer timeline and online use was generally driven by negative emotions. Seven factors influenced access and engagement: 1) where young people were on their cancer timeline; 2) external influencing factors, such as family and environments; 3) emotional drivers; 4) what young people search for online; 5) resources, websites, and digital platforms used by young people; 6) availability, accessibility, and assessment of online information and resources; 7) emotional responses to using online resources. Conclusion: The way young people access and engage with online resources is complex with multiple influencing factors including powerful emotional drivers and responses to Internet searching. There is a need to develop resources that support the holistic needs of young people and this should be done in collaboration with young people.

Sarah Lea, Rachel M. Taylor, Ana Martins, Lorna A. Fern, Jeremy S. Whelan, Faith Gibson (2018)Conceptualizing age-appropriate care for teenagers and young adults with cancer : a qualitative mixed-methods study, In: Adolescent health, medicine and therapeutics9pp. 149-166 Dove Medical Press Ltd

Purpose: Teenage and young adult cancer care in England is centralized around 13 principal treatment centers, alongside linked "designated" hospitals, following recommendations that this population should have access to age-appropriate care. The term age-appropriate care has not yet been defined; it is however the explicit term used when communicating the nature of specialist care. The aim of this study was to develop an evidence-based, contextually relevant and operational model defining age-appropriate care for teenagers and young adults with cancer. Materials and methods: A mixed-methods study was conducted comprising 1) semi-structured interview data from young people with cancer and health care professionals involved in their care; 2) an integrative literature review to identify the current understanding and use of the term age-appropriate care; 3) synthesis of both sets of data to form a conceptual model of age-appropriate care. A combination of qualitative content, thematic and framework analysis techniques was used to analyze and integrate data. Results: Analysis and synthesis across data sources enabled identification of seven core components of age-appropriate care, which were presented as a conceptual model: best treatment; health care professional knowledge; communication, interactions and relationships; recognizing individuality; empowering young people; promoting normality; and the environment. Subthemes emerged which included healthcare professionals clinical and holistic expertise, and the environment comprising both physical and social elements. Conclusion: The proposed model, necessarily constructed from multiple components, presents an evidence-based comprehensive structure for understanding the nature of age-appropriate care. It will be useful for clinicians, health service managers and researchers who are designing, implementing and evaluating interventions that might contribute to the provision of age-appropriate care. While the individual elements of age-appropriate care can exist independently or in part, age-appropriate care is optimal when all seven elements are present and could be applied to the care of young people with long-term conditions other than cancer.

Sarah Lea, Ana Martins, Sue Morgan, Jamie Cargill, Rachel M. Taylor, Lorna A. Fern (2019)Health care professional perceptions of online information and support for young people with cancer in the United Kingdom, In: Adolescent health, medicine and therapeutics10pp. 103-116 Dove Medical Press Ltd

Purpose: The internet is integral to young people, providing round-the-clock access to information and support. Young people with cancer report searching for online information and support. What they search for and why varies across their timeline and is mainly driven by negative emotion. We sought to understand how health care professionals (HCPs) perceived online information and support for young people with cancer. Population and methods: Semi-structured interviews with eight HCPs across the UK informed the development of a survey, completed by 38 HCPs. Framework analysis was used to identify key themes and the survey was analyzed descriptively. Results: Seven themes emerged as integral to HCP's perceptions of online information and support, these included: views about young people's use of online resources; how needs change along the cancer timeline; different platforms where HCPs refer young people to online; whether young people's online needs are currently met; recognition of the emotional relationship between young people and the internet; barriers and concerns when referring young people to online resources; and strategies used in practice. Conclusion: Professionals play an important role in signposting young people to online resources, where they are confident about the accuracy and delivery of information. The biggest perceived barrier to facilitating online access was the cost to the NHS, and most concerning factor for HCPs was keeping young people safe online. There is a need to develop online resources specific for young people on psychosocial topics beyond treatment to support young people and HCPs through this period.