Improving reach and uptake of psychosexual support: introducing Rekindle, a web-based psychosexual resource for all cancer survivors and their partners (#91)
Introduction: Sexuality changes can lead to psychological distress for cancer survivors, impacting long-term quality of life for them and their partners. Psychosocial and pharmaceutical interventions have proven beneficial in reducing this burden but are not widely accessed by most cancer survivors and their partners either due to embarrassment or lack of targeted information.
Aims: To develop and test the acceptability of Rekindle as a theoretically guided, tailored and adaptive web-based psycho-educational resource to address sexual concerns for cancer survivors and their partners and demonstrate its acceptability.
Methods: The Rekindle design and construction was based on: i) empirical evidence gathered from a literature review; ii) qualitative interviews with cancer survivors and partners; iii) an online survey of psychosexual support intervention preferences; iv) consultation with sexuality experts; and v) usability testing of Rekindle
Results: Interviews with 32 survivors (18 male) and 8 partners (4 female) highlighted the importance of communication and the need for self-guided communication skills training. The barriers and facilitators to effective sexual communication were specifically explored with changes to relationship perception, masculinity and self-confidence identified as three intervening phenomena. The online survey completed by 324 cancer survivors offered a clear preference for online delivery (32%) and interest in participating in interventions with their partner (32%). Embarrassment (28%) and lack of privacy (22%) were the most commonly cited barriers to uptake of psychosexual support, which provided further direction for Rekindle’s design and structure. Usability testing served to enhance the functionality and acceptability of the Rekindle user experience. These findings together with the literature review led to the development and tailoring of seven modules for Rekindle addressing the reported sexual concerns and unmet needs.
Conclusions: Rekindle has been designed to address significant sexual concerns amongst cancer survivors and their partners by offering accessible, private and cost-effective support. Rekindle uses information technology to create a tailored supportive care service to patients and their partners. Moreover, Rekindle may serve as a model for service delivery and integration of support services into standard care.