• Open Access

Cancer patient and clinician acceptability and feasibility of a supportive care screening and referral process

Authors

  • Eli Ristevski BHlthSci (Hons) PhD,

    Research Fellow, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Rural and Indigenous Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
    • Correspondence

      Eli Ristevski

      BHlthSci (Hons) PhD

      Research Fellow

      Department of Rural and Indigenous Health

      Monash University

      PO Box 973

      Moe

      Vic.

      Australia

      E-mail: eli.ristevski@.monash.edu

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  • Melanie Regan RN BHlthSc GradDip Cancer Care MN,

    Research Fellow, Regional Cancer Nurse Coordinator
    1. Department of Rural and Indigenous Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
    2. Gippsland Regional Integrated Cancer Services, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Traralgon, Vic., Australia
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  • Rebecca Jones BA (Hons) MA PhD,

    Research Fellow, DECRA Postdoctoral Fellow
    1. Department of Rural and Indigenous Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia
    2. School of History, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
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  • Sibilah Breen BSc (Hons) PhD,

    Supportive Care Coordinator
    1. Gippsland Regional Integrated Cancer Services, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Traralgon, Vic., Australia
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  • Angela Batson BBus,

    Research Assistant
    1. Loddon Mallee Integrated Cancer Services, Bendigo, Vic., Australia
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  • Matthew R. McGrail BSc (Hons) GradDipIT PhD

    Research Fellow
    1. Gippsland Medical School, School of Rural Health, Monash University, Churchill, Vic., Australia
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Abstract

Background

Incorporating supportive care into routine cancer care is an increasing priority for the multi-disciplinary team with growing evidence of its importance to patient-centred care. How to design and deliver a process which is appropriate for patients, clinicians and health services in rural areas needs further investigation.

Objective

To (i) examine the patient and clinician acceptability and feasibility of incorporating a supportive care screening and referral process into routine cancer care in a rural setting, and (ii) explore any potential influences of patient variables on the acceptability of the process.

Methods

A total of 154 cancer patients and 36 cancer clinicians across two rural areas of Victoria, Australia participated. During treatment visits, patients and clinicians participated in a supportive care process involving screening, discussion of problems, and provision of information and referrals. Structured questionnaires with open and closed questions were used to measure patient and clinician acceptability and feasibility.

Results

Patients and clinicians found the supportive care process highly acceptable. Screening identified relevant patient problems (90%) and problems that may not have otherwise been identified (83%). The patient–clinician discussion helped patients realize help was available (87%) and enhanced clinician–patient rapport (72%). Patients received useful referrals to services (76%). Feasibility issues included timing of screening for newly diagnosed patients, privacy in discussing problems, clinician time and availability of referral options. No patient demographic or disease factors influenced acceptability or feasibility.

Conclusions

Patients and clinicians reported high acceptability for the supportive care process, although mechanisms for incorporating the process into health care need to be further developed.

Ancillary