Improving survivorship care at a community cancer center: a program evaluation

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Survivorship care is an opportunity to prepare cancer survivors for living a life impacted by cancer. The physical, psychological, and spiritual effects of cancer goes beyond the days or hours patients have spent receiving treatment. Over a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine created the survivorship care plan (SCP) as a solution for improving care for cancer survivors. The Commission on Cancer (CoC) since adopted the SCP as an accreditation standard which requires SCP delivery to at least 50% of eligible survivors. However, the implementation of SCPs has been challenging as the evidence supporting its use is mixed. There is minimal evidence to support SCPs positively impact patient outcomes, yet, patients report higher satisfaction with survivorship knowledge, find the SCP helpful, and recommend its use. As a result, organizations are confronted with meeting a CoC standard that is difficult to implement and has discordant evidence to support its use. The purpose of this project was to provide a program evaluation for a CoC accredited community cancer center that is committed to improving survivorship care for adult oncology patients. Three objectives were assessed; percentage of SCP delivery completions, evaluation of the SCP and visit with a pre and post survey, and assessment of survivors ongoing needs with a Cancer Impairment Screening Tool. A small case study was also conducted. Between February 1st and July 31st fifty-seven SCP visits were completed, however, only 36 survivorship visits met eligibility criteria making the completion rate 35.6%. The pre and post survey revealed patients had an increase in; knowledge of the SCP visit purpose, available resources, familiarity with treatment side effects, and importance of the visit. There were no reports of unmet needs on the post survey. Survivors most common treatment concerns were numbness in extremities, muscle weakness, fatigue, physical limitations, and sleep difficulties. In conclusion patients find value in the SCP and visit and its use should not be abandoned. It is well understood that survivorship care can be complex. Advancing survivorship care from the sole provision of the SCP to a more individualized process may better address the specific needs of individual cancer survivors.




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