A cancer diagnosis can be a challenging and stressful time for many patients and their families.
Not only does it present questions around mortality and quality of life, but it throws up many difficulties around navigating the health system and managing a loved one’s care.
Improving this experience for patients and families is the focus of important new research being undertaken at Flinders Medical Centre, thanks to Australian Prostate Cancer’s (APC) support.
Professor Bogda Koczwara, from the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, is trialling a new program called ‘iSCREEN. Every cancer patient. Every need’ to improve patients’ cancer experience and associated healthcare outcomes.
Through iSCREEN, Prof Koczwara plans to implement an online tool to screen cancer patients and identify gaps in their care which need to be addressed.
“It is concerning that despite a high burden of distress and unmet needs in patients diagnosed with cancer, a systematic approach to this type of screening has not yet been adopted anywhere in South Australia,” Prof Koczwara said.
“Our research will assess the feasibility of systematic screening for distress and unmet needs and, through identifying unmet needs, begin to develop evidence-based clinical pathways and referral pathways to meet the needs of cancer patients.”
Prostate cancer patients will be invited to participate in the study, as well as other cancer types. The findings will inform future care and pathways to be adopted in other hospitals.
The program will be similar to a model being trialled in New South Wales, which is showing positive initial results to not only patient care, but reducing the burden on the healthcare system.
“It is critical that any approach to needs assessment is supported by a clear management pathway,” Prof Koczwara said.
“Our research will have direct clinical benefits by improving the experience of cancer patients.”
This work would not be possible without APC’s valued donors. If you would like to support this research, simply call (08) 8243 1101 or click here.