Development of the Existential and Spiritual Crisis Screener (SESC)
Being diagnosed with cancer confronts people with the end of life and their own vulnerability. This confrontation may raise questions about the meaning of life in general and the meaning of their own lives. Whether these life questions have problematic consequences and can take the form of a crisis varies between patients. For some there is awareness of life questions without involving psychological suffering, while in other patients these questions can lead to a crisis. Because of the psychological problems that might accompany life questions and the need for support in cancer patients having these questions, the Screener Existential and Spiritual Crisis (SESC) is developed. The SESC may allow an indication of the nature of the problem (is there a problem in terms of meaning, spiritual and/or existential questions) and the severity of the problem.
Development and evaluation of the SESC.
In total, 25 cancer patients will complete the SESC, followed by a brief interview in which we will make use of the EORTC debriefing questions (sample questions: "Were there any questions that are difficult to answer?", "Were there any questions that you found confusing?"). Following this investigation, items from the SESC may be modified or removed. The aim is to include 25 curatively treated cancer patients, whose treatment is completed for at least 3 months up to five years ago.
Future plans project "life questions"
This study is part of the project "Life questions after treatment for cancer: the right route to self-management and professional care". The aim of this project is the development and evaluation of the SESC and an intensification questionnaire. By means of these questionnaires, patients treated for cancer with a curative intent will be referred to the, for them, most optimal supportive care in the field of life questions.
At the moment, the study is conducted in the department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery of the VUmc. End 2012 we expect the results.
The burden to the patient of this study is small and does not need the approval of Medical Ethics Committee (METC) of the VU University Medical Center.
In this project we work together with the Department of Clinical Psychology of the VU and the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery of the VUmc.
Prof I.M. Verdonck-de Leeuw, PhD, Psychologist, Speech & Language Therapist, Linguïst, dpt. of Clinical Psychology, VU Faculty of Psychology and Education,
C.F. van Uden-Kraan, PhD, Communication Scientist, dpt. of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, VUmc
M. Heinen BSc, master student Clinical Psychology, VU Faculty of Psychology and Education
For questions, please contact:
Nelly van Uden-Kraan, PhD, Communication Scientist
Phone: +31 (0)20-4442757