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A model of cancer survivorship care within a community health setting: the Good Life Cancer Survivorship program

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to establish and evaluate the referral pathway from a hospital-based oncology service to a multidisciplinary community-based health service supporting survivors to engage in self-management.

Method

The evaluation involved understanding patterns of health service utilisation and health professionals’ perspectives on the implementation of the community-based model of survivorship care, the Good Life Cancer Survivorship (GLCS) program. Survivors referred to GLCS were undergoing or had completed cancer treatment and unable to participate in intensive ambulatory oncology rehabilitation. Health service utilisation was tracked over 5 months, and the perspectives of health professionals referring to and involved in the GLCS program were recorded using semi-structured interviews.

Results

The oncology service made 25 referrals. The most accessed services at Carrington Health were physiotherapy with 18 appointments, followed by psychology (12) and dietitian services (11). Four themes emerged from the interviews: (1) Allied health services are relevant to people with cancer; (2) Education and information needs; (3) Communication gaps; (4) A one-stop multidisciplinary and holistic care model.

Conclusion

This project demonstrated that community health may be a valid setting to support cancer survivors in managing their health. Supporting ongoing awareness, education and understanding of services across both community and acute care settings will foster care coordination and strengthen referral pathways.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Accessing appropriate community-based allied health services can support cancer survivors in developing self-management skills to manage their own health and improve their health outcomes and wellbeing in the survivorship phase.

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Funding

The project was supported by the Victorian Government. WK Soo is supported by a NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship (APP1074676) and Eastern Health Clinical School Scholarship.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Carina Martin, Janine Scott, Rebecca McIntosh, Wee Kheng Soo, Bernadette Zappa, Kerry Haynes, Anna Ugalde and Patricia Livingston contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, analysis and interpretation were performed by Rebecca McIntosh, Kerry Haynes, Lahiru Russell, Anna Ugalde and Patricia Livingston. Lahiru Russell wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lahiru Russell.

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval was obtained from the relevant institutions (Ethics# LR62-2018 and 2018-303).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Disclaimer

The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Russell, L., McIntosh, R., Martin, C. et al. A model of cancer survivorship care within a community health setting: the Good Life Cancer Survivorship program. J Cancer Surviv 14, 36–42 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-019-00821-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-019-00821-6

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