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To document the current clinical practice in 2017 for assessment of supportive care needs and provision of supportive care to women with gynecological cancer and their caregivers in Australia, and to identify the main enablers and barriers to care provision.
A total of 64 health professionals who care for Australian women with gynecological cancer responded to an electronic survey which explored their use of needs assessment, service-level processes and protocols for support service provision, and identified enablers and barriers to provision of care to both patients and caregivers. Eight respondents underwent an additional in-depth interview to elaborate on enablers, barriers, and gaps in the provision of supportive care.
Mostly, needs assessment for women and caregivers was part of current practice but done without validated tools or a checklist. Only 30% of respondents reported having documented referral pathways. Most respondents simply recorded a plan for meeting needs within the patients’ medical record (63% for patients; 46% for caregivers) rather than using a formalized care plan (15% for patients; 6% for caregivers). The interviewees’ comments supported survey results that having sufficient time to discuss issues was both the most important enabling factor and the greatest barrier to successful supportive care provision. The interviewees further discussed variations in needs based on age, cultural background, and phases within the cancer care continuum, and that best practice supportive care should involve a multidisciplinary team and customizable protocols.
Significance of results
There is much room for improvement in the assessment of needs and provision of supportive care to women with gynecological cancer and their caregivers. Approaches to optimize use of consultation time (e.g., needs assessment tools and referral protocols) are necessary. Flexibility in the form and mode of delivery of support may be required to meet diverse personal preferences and incorporate caregivers.
People with pancreatic cancer have poor survival, and management is challenging. Pancreatic cancer patients' perceptions of their care coordination and its association with their outcomes have not been well-studied. Our objective was to determine if perception of care coordination is associated with patient-reported outcomes or survival.
People with pancreatic cancer who were 1–8 months postdiagnosis (52 with completed resection and 58 with no resection) completed a patient-reported questionnaire that assessed their perceptions of care coordination, quality of life, anxiety, and depression using validated instruments. Mean scores for 15 care-coordination items were calculated and then ranked from highest (best experience) to lowest (worst experience). Associations between care-coordination scores (including communication and navigation domains) and patient-reported outcomes and survival were investigated using general linear regression and Cox regression, respectively. All analyses were stratified by whether or not the tumor had been resected.
In both groups, the highest-ranked care-coordination items were: knowing who was responsible for coordinating care, health professionals being informed about their history, and waiting times. The worst-ranked items related to: how often patients were asked about visits with other health professionals and how well they and their family were coping, knowing the symptoms they should monitor, having sufficient emotional help from staff, and access to additional specialist services. For people who had a resection, better communication and navigation scores were significantly associated with higher quality of life and less anxiety and depression. However, these associations were not statistically significant for those with no resection. Perception of cancer care coordination was not associated with survival in either group.
Significance of results:
Our results suggest that, while many core clinical aspects of care are perceived to be done well for pancreatic cancer patients, improvements in emotional support, referral to specialist services, and self-management education may improve patient-reported outcomes.
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