Numerous reports have recommended that survivors receive a treatment summary and survivorship care plan (collectively, SCP) at the end of initial treatment.
To evaluate the impact of SCPs and describe enablers and barriers to implementation at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
The Peter Mac Ethics Committee / IRB approved the study. A random sample of patients within 4 clinical services (CS) who had received a SCP were invited to participate. Questionnaires were sent to consenting patients by mail. Nurse coordinators (NC) delivering SCPs completed an online survey. NC representing the remaining 7 CS, all CS chairs, and all heads of allied health were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews. GPs (primary care physicians) of consenting patients were contacted by telephone and completed a brief survey.
118 patients were approached; 50 completed (42%rr). 80% (n=39) had read their SCP. 78% (n=35) considered it very or somewhat useful and 51% (n=23) considered it very important in helping them to understand their cancer experience. 60% (n=28) had not discussed their SCP with their GP; 55% (n=26) felt it would help discussions. All NC (n=7,100%) delivering SCP considered them a very or somewhat useful tool for clinical practice, 43% (n=3) considered them too long. 72% (n=13) of GPs reported receiving the SCP and 92% (n=12) had read it, 21% (n=3) had discussed it with their patient. Most felt it would improve communications with the patient (n=10, 71%) and cancer treatment providers (n=9, 64%). 43% (n=6) of GPs experienced challenges providing follow-up care. Themes from semi-structured interviews included lack of awareness of the SCP project, limited leadership and commitment within the organisation, lack of time, staffing and appropriate IT solutions.
All participants considered SCPs to be useful. Organisational commitment, clinical leadership and adequate resourcing are required prior to further implementation.