In the Netherlands, 'walk-in homes' are open facilities that offer low-key support to cancer patients and their family members. In walk-in homes, visitors meet fellow patients, receive support from trained volunteers, and participate in a variety of stress-reducing or creative activities. The number of walk-in homes has rapidly increased to 70 in 2014. Little is known about the experiences of visitors and there is currently no research to establish whether these facilities meet their needs. Supported by the Dutch Cancer Society, the aim of this research is to research how cancer patients are informed about and referred to the walk-in homes, their experiences there and how they evaluate these experiences.
In a random sample of 25 walk-in homes, visitors were asked to fill out a web-questionnaire about the evaluation of the facilities. Paper-and-pencil questionnaires were provided when e-mail addresses were not available. Studied topics were: background characteristics of the visitors, appreciation of the service, experienced effects (quality of life), the role of palliative care, and by whom they were informed about the walk-in homes.