Wellspring: an intrinsic case study of community-based education for adults living with cancer /
McGill, Philomena Kathleen Anne.
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This paper presents education research as vital to addressing the issues faced by adults living with cancer. This qualitative study looked at philosophies of practice for cancer patient education. It was about understanding how values and beliefs shape the way program planners and managers operationalize their knowledge of adult education and how this has significant impact on meeting the needs of those touched by cancer. Improved technology has extended life expectancy, so that Canadians living with cancer, or even dying with cancer now spend less time in direct medical care. The notion of cancer as simply a medical concern is outdated. This study found that informational and support needs of adults living with cancer are often unmet, ignored or unknown. This research investigated a community-based education initiative that is inviting, accessible, and promotes a sense of hope. More specifically, this case study uncovered factors contributing to the success of Wellspring, a grass-roots cancer patient support centre which has been recognized nationally for its ability to effectively meet the diverse non-medical supportive care needs of as many cancer patients and caregivers as possible. Therefore, Wellspring was selected as a case study. Educating people to take charge of their own lives and supporting them in making informed decisions about their lifestyle choices made Wellspring part of a social action movement that focused on improving social attitudes toward people living with cancer. Results of this descriptive inquiry and philosophical inquiry evolved into data that was used to devise an organic model of community-based education that encompasses Adler's (1993) four dimensions of philosophy within a socio-cultural context.