Supportive care needs of a sample of cancer patients in metropolitan Melbourne: implications for service improvement (#169)
Background: Victoria’s cancer reform agenda prioritises identifying and managing supportive care problems experienced by the cancer population. Systematic supportive care screening across five domains commenced in 2010. The North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (NEMICS) audited a sample of their screened cancer population in 2014.
Aim: Systematically evaluate reported supportive care problems and screening outcomes in the NEMICS region. Use the findings at a local and regional level to plan service provision to address identified need.
Methods: NEMICS retrospectively audited a sample of the screened cancer population. Problems identified, management strategies and additional information about the patient, their cancer and treatment were collected. Analysis by region, tumour type, screening location, problems identified and screening outcomes was undertaken.
Results: A total of 2183 individual supportive care screens were audited. Tumour types most commonly screened include: breast, haematological, colorectal, and lung. Screening was undertaken across a range of oncology services: day oncology (20%), specialist clinic (18%), inpatient oncology wards (16%), radiation therapy (10%) and inpatient palliative care unit (8%). A total of 13843 problems were identified across all domains on 2048 screens. Analysis of problem checklist data found the following: an average of 6.78 problems recorded per screen; a median of 6 problems, a range of 0 to 30 problems and a standard deviation of 5.14. Emotional and physical domain problems featured with fatigue and worry being identified by half of the people screened. Problems with nervousness, sadness, sleep, fears, and pain were also commonly reported. Variation occurs between problems identified, diagnosis, and screening location. Work is under-way to evaluate triage and referral data.
Conclusion: Standardised collection of supportive care screening data provides valuable information about supportive care problems identified by the cancer population and can be used to guide service improvement to address identified need.