Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 147–154 | Cite as

An evaluation of social work services in a cancer accommodation facility for rural South Australians

  • Bonnie WigginsEmail author
  • Nadia Corsini
  • Imogen Ramsey
  • Suzanne Edwards
  • Deb Ball
  • Lesley Cocks
  • Jo Lill
  • Greg Sharplin
  • Carlene Wilson
Original Article



The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the social work service at an accommodation facility for people receiving cancer treatment away from home with a focus on distress, impact of support, and type of assistance received from the social work service.


Guests who stayed at the Cancer Council Lodge during June 2015 were mailed a questionnaire collecting information about level of distress upon arrival and departure, impact of support in several areas, and what the service assisted them with specifically.


The sample comprised 149 guests. Social work contact (n = 19) was associated with greater reduction in distress between arrival and departure compared with no contact (n = 56). Contact with a social worker was associated with greater odds of agreeing or strongly agreeing that guests felt supported in 6 out of 10 areas assessed. These areas were managing the challenges related to cancer, approaching support services, asking questions of healthcare teams, accessing support services, coping with strong emotions, and understanding reactions of family and friends. The most common types of support received were emotional and informational support.


This study describes some of benefits of providing social work services to people receiving cancer treatment away from home and has implications for provision of social work service resources in similar settings. Further research could investigate the impact of this service in similar settings using randomised controlled trials to better account for potential biases. Research in this area has potential to inform program development and policy.


Cancer Rural Social work service Support services Psychosocial impact Psycho-oncology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


All primary data is property of Cancer Council SA.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonnie Wiggins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nadia Corsini
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Imogen Ramsey
    • 1
    • 4
  • Suzanne Edwards
    • 3
  • Deb Ball
    • 1
  • Lesley Cocks
    • 1
  • Jo Lill
    • 1
  • Greg Sharplin
    • 1
    • 4
  • Carlene Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Cancer Council SAEastwoodAustralia
  2. 2.Flinders Centre for Innovation in CancerFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia
  3. 3.University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, Sansom Institute, Division of Health SciencesUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  5. 5.Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness Research CentreAustin HospitalHeidelbergAustralia
  6. 6.School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

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