Objective: This study explored the long-term impact of a Total Laryngectomy (TL) on the partner and on the relationship between laryngectomees and their partners. Methods: 151 laryngectomees and 144 partners completed questionnaires assessing the psychosocial impact of a TL on the partner (quality of life, anxiety and depression, loss of control, fear, hopelessness, post-traumatic growth, caregiving burden) and on the spousal relationship (change in the quality of the spousal relationship and openness to discussion of the illness in the family). Results: 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. The consequences of a TL has a negative change on the sexual functioning for more than 30% of both laryngectomees and partners, the communication for around one fifth of both laryngectomees and partners, and feelings of dependency of the partner for one third of the laryngectomees. Conclusions: A TL has a considerable impact on the psychosocial life of partners of laryngectomees and on the spousal relationship. The findings of this explorative study sets the stage for structural screening on the need for support, not only for patients, but also for their partners. Sexuality and intimacy should be part of this screening.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2014.12.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/86789
Oral Oncology
Department of Pulmonology

Offerman, M., Pruyn, J., de Boer, M., van Busschbach, J., & Baatenburg de Jong, R. J. (2015). Psychosocial consequences for partners of patients after total laryngectomy and for the relationship between patients and partners. Oral Oncology, 51(4), 389–398. doi:10.1016/j.oraloncology.2014.12.008