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Keywords:

  • multidisciplinary;
  • treatment;
  • specialist nurse;
  • supportive;
  • follow-up

A care pathway for patients with oesophageal cancer

A well-functioning care pathway for oesophageal cancer patients is particularly important in view of the need for a multidisciplinary approach and of the complex diagnostic procedures, extensive treatment, increasing volume of patients at fewer centres, and poor prognosis. Nevertheless, the literature regarding organization of care pathways for cancer patients is sparse. We therefore present our newly developed care pathway for oesophageal cancer patients, created to optimize the organization, coordination and supportive care. Based on scientific evidence, the pathway includes all relevant diagnostic examinations and therapeutic options, multidisciplinary team meetings, programmes for follow-up, rehabilitation and after-hospital care, and organized supportive care throughout the pathway, all led by a specialist nurse. The specialist nurse maintains continuous contacts with the patient and family throughout the care pathway. The experience and evaluation of our care pathway indicate that it works well in clinical practice, and that the role of the specialist nurse seems to be the key to the success, from the colleagues’, hospital’s and patients’ point of view. This pathway has therefore been established at our hospital, and we can recommend well-organized and nurse-led care pathways for oesophageal cancer patients.