An assessment of food safety information provision for UK chemotherapy patients to reduce the risk of foodborne infection
Evans, Ellen W.
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Objectives: Given the increased risk of foodborne infection to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment, and the risk of listeriosis reportedly five-times greater to this immunocompromised patient group, there is a need to ensure the implementation of domestic food safety practices among chemotherapy patients and their family caregivers. However, information regarding the adequacy of resources to inform and enable patients to implement domestic food safety practices to reduce the risk of foodborne infection are limited. Consequently, this study aimed to evaluate the provision of food safety information available to UK chemotherapy patients. Study Design: In-depth semi-structured interviews and content-analysis of online patient information resources. Methods: Interviews with patients and family caregivers (n=15) were conducted to explore food-related experiences during chemotherapy treatment. Online food-related information resources for chemotherapy patients (n=45) were obtained from 35 of 154 National Health Service (NHS) chemotherapy providers in England, Scotland and Wales, the Department of Health (DoH) and three of 184 identified UK cancer charities. Identified food-related information resources were reviewed using a content-analysis approach to assess the inclusion of food safety information for chemotherapy patients. Results: In-depth interviews established that many patients indicated awareness of immunosuppression during treatment. Although patients reported practicing caution to reduce the risk of communicable diseases by avoiding crowded spaces/public transport, food safety was reported to be of minimal concern during treatment and the risk of foodborne infection was often underestimated. The review of online food-related patient information resources established that many resources failed to highlight the increased risk of foodborne infection and emphasize the importance of food safety for patients during chemotherapy treatment. Considerable information gaps exist, particularly in relation to listeriosis prevention practices. Cumulatively, information was inconsistent, insufficient and varied between resources. Conclusion: The study has identified the need for an effective, standardized food safety resource specifically targeting chemotherapy patients and family caregivers. Such intervention is essential to assist efforts in reducing the risks associated with foodborne infection among chemotherapy patients.
Evans, E.W. and Redmond, E.C. (2017) 'An assessment of food safety information provision for UK chemotherapy patients to reduce the risk of foodborne infection', Public Health, 153, pp.25-35
This article was published in Public Health on 17 August 2017, available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2017.06.017
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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