, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 99-108
Date: 05 May 2009

The views of bowel cancer survivors and health care professionals regarding survivorship care plans and post treatment follow up

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Abstract

Goals of work

Increasing numbers of people survive cancer beyond diagnosis and treatment. Many survivors have ongoing needs and they may encounter fragmented, poorly coordinated follow up care. Survivorship care plans (SCP) have been promoted as a key aspect of survivorship care. This study aimed to survey key stakeholders in the care of people with colorectal cancer (survivors, primary care providers and hospital-based healthcare professionals) regarding follow-up and SCP.

Patients and methods

In study 1, cancer survivors completed a questionnaire regarding their follow-up and experiences during survivorship. Participants’ primary care physicians completed a phone interview regarding proposed SCP elements. A subgroup of survivors reviewed a sample SCP and participated in a phone interview regarding this. In study 2, healthcare professionals working with colorectal cancer patients completed a questionnaire regarding follow-up and proposed elements of a SCP.

Main results

Twenty survivors completed the questionnaire, 14 primary care providers completed a phone interview and 12 survivors reviewed the sample SCP.

Ninety-five healthcare professionals (30 medical professionals and 65 nurses) completed the questionnaire. There was strong support for core elements of the SCP. Additionally, nurses and survivors expressed support for supportive care and psychosocial elements. There was lack of consensus regarding who should prepare and discuss the SCP.

Conclusions

There is strong support for the development and use of SCPs for bowel cancer survivors. There is some variation in opinion regarding ideal content of the SCP, who might prepare it, and how it might be discussed and utilised.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Overcoming identified barriers to implementing SCPs for bowel cancer survivors is necessary for high quality cancer care.