Sixty-six percent of cancer patients in Australia survive more than five years. A pivotal report by the US Institute of Medicine recommends that every cancer survivor be given a survivorship care plan (SCP) at the end of initial cancer treatment to enable smooth transition into the post-treatment phase. However there is little evidence to inform SCP implementation models in acute cancer centres. To support the introduction of SCPs at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, a project is underway to develop a SCP implementation framework.
Since February 2011 group discussions and one-on-one interviews with key clinicians involved in post treatment care have been undertaken to:
• ascertain current perceptions of survivorship issues and use of SCPs, and models of providing post-treatment care;
• identify ways to assist translation of best-practice guidelines regarding SCPs into clinical practice across 11 clinical services and
• evaluate implementation.
SCPs have been developed and implemented in five clinical streams and implementation is underway in two clinical streams. A total of 101 SCPs have been developed and distributed by nurse coordinators. Although each SCP contains specific disease and treatment information there is common content for SCPs across clinical streams. The need to provide primary care providers with a copy of the SCP has been universally recognized. Ongoing challenges include engagement of clinical services, time to complete SCP and embedding SCPs into routine practice.
This project is in its infancy, establishing critical links with multidisciplinary team members to support implementation of SCPs. Ongoing work will determine how to deliver SCPs to greater numbers of survivors as well as determine the impact of SCPs.