Developing models of survivorship care are considered essential to promote ongoing health and wellbeing for patients, reduce the burden of late effects and ensure the most efficient division of resources. While this applies to all patients, adolescents and young adults (AYA) who experience a diagnosis of cancer are different as they negotiate a life-stage characterised by rapid development and have the potential of a long life ahead facing many ongoing medical and psychosocial ramifications of cancer and its treatment. In alignment, the NHS has recently defined principles of developmentally appropriate AYA SC. These include: best care, in the best place, delivered by the most appropriate person; care coordination and planning; collaborative healthcare partnerships; supporting primary care; risk stratification; a focus on transition. Recognition of the importance of SC for young people led to the development of the Victorian Department of Health funded Survivorship Connections project by ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian AYA Cancer Service in 2010 to meet the gap in services for young people and their families.
The aim of this project is to implement a phase 1 model of survivorship care for young people with cancer in Victoria and evaluate its appropriateness, impact on patient’s quality of life and the sustainability of this model.
The project involves: nurse-led intervention; care-coordination; building acute/primary partnerships; care-planning; review and exploring need. Evaluation will be undertaken with formative and summative data focussing on patient reported outcome measures and sustainability. A total of 75 patients will be recruited over 3 sites during a 12 month period.
This paper will explore the development of the Survivorship Connections protocol and its key components. The rationale behind this work will be delineated and the anticipated outcomes described.
With Acknowledgement to Dr L. Sanci 2 & Dr K. Drummond 3
2 The University of Melbourne
3 The Royal Melbourne Hospital