Survey of telephone contacts for a Regional Canadian Cancer Society District.
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This is a descriptive of a census survey of telephone contacts to six unit offices of the Metro Hamilton District Canadian Cancer Society (CCS). The survey instrument was also designed to address two a priori hypotheses: that first-time contacts would be systematically different from the population of other callers; and, that some telephone contacts might represent a disguised need for emotional support. We also assessed satisfaction of CCS personnel with the outcome of telephone contacts. Over a four-day survey period, there were 946 telephone contacts of which 158 (17%) were patient related. First-time telephone contacts were more likely to be spouses or relatives/friends of patients as opposed to non-first-time contacts which were more likely to be patients (P = 0.01). A need for emotional support during telephone contact was more likely to be related to an underlying stressful prompting event for the call (P = 0.002). CCS telephone receptionist personnel were relatively less satisfied that callers' needs were met where emotional support was needed, as opposed to calls for service or information only. The results have implications for the orientation and continuing education of CCS personnel dealing with telephone contacts related to patients.
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