Abstract

Objective: Given preliminary evidence for positive health outcomes related to contact with nature for cancer populations, research is warranted to ascertain possible strategies for incorporating nature-based care opportunities into oncology contexts as additional strategies for addressing multidimensional aspects of cancer patients’ health and recovery needs. The objective of this study was to consolidate existing research related to nature-based supportive care opportunities and generate a conceptual framework for discerning relevant applications in the supportive care setting.

Methods: Drawing on research investigating nature-based engagement in oncology contexts, a two-step analytic process was used to construct a conceptual framework for guiding nature-based supportive care design and future research. Concept analysis methodology generated new representations of understanding by extracting and synthesising salient concepts. Newly formulated concepts were transposed to findings from related research about patient-reported and healthcare expert-developed recommendations for nature-based supportive care in oncology.

Results: Five theoretical concepts (themes) were formulated describing patients’ reasons for engaging with nature and the underlying needs these interactions address. These included: connecting with what is genuinely valued, distancing from the cancer experience, meaning-making and reframing the cancer experience, finding comfort and safety, and vital nurturance. Eight shared patient and expert recommendations were compiled, which address the identified needs through nature-based initiatives. Eleven additional patient-reported recommendations attend to beneficial and adverse experiential qualities of patients’ nature-based engagement and complete the framework.

Conclusions: The framework outlines salient findings about helpful nature-based supportive care opportunities for ready access by healthcare practitioners, designers, researchers and patients themselves.

Keywords

palliative care, cancer, oncology, healthcare, patient needs, engaging with nature

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

https://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2017-001465

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