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Monday, May 25, 2015
The psychosocial impact of a total laryngectomy on the patient and their partners
A recent study by Offerman et al. from the Netherlands evaluated the psychosocial impact of a total laryngectomy (TL) on the patient and their partners. The study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25631352 ) surveyed 151 laryngectomees and their partners inquiring about their quality of life. A variety of psychosocial problems are reported by partners of laryngectomees, such as mood disorder, feelings of hopelessness, fear for losing their life companion and caregiver burden.
The investigators found that a considerable number of partners of laryngectomees experience a psychosocial impact of the consequences of the TL, specifically on their social life (35%) and on their sexual relationship (31%). Also, the tendency of other people to neglect their laryngectomized life companion, affects more than half of the partners negatively. Clinical levels of anxiety and depression were found in around 20% of the partners. TL has a negative effect on the sexual functioning for more than 30% of both laryngectomees and their partners, the communication for about one fifth of both laryngectomees and partners, and the feelings of dependency of the partner for one third of the laryngectomees.
The authors recommended that health care professionals should screen not only the patients but also their partners for need of support to deal with sexuality and intimacy.