What is known?
The Australian government has developed a set of indicators that can be used to measure the quality of cancer patients’ experiences during their care. These include checking that patients are provided with key support and information about their condition and treatment and measuring the degree to which they are involved with making decisions about their care. People with a cancer diagnosis living in regional and remote Australia often have poorer access to quality health care. Therefore, it is particularly important to measure the quality of patient experiences in regional and remote cancer patients using these national indicators.
What is new?
Findings from this study suggest that overall, most cancer patients living in regional and remote areas are being provided with adequate information about their diagnosis, treatment and possible side effects. However, many patients are not as involved in decisions about their care as they would like to be. The majority of patients do not receive an assessment and care plan, and clinical support nurses and written information are less commonly provided for people with some cancer types including skin and head & neck cancer. Our findings also showed that people who report a better understanding of treatment, side effects and communication with health professionals, also report higher emotional wellbeing.
What does this mean?
Patient communication and involvement in decision making are important elements of quality cancer care. Cancer survivors from regional and remote areas, particularly those with skin and head & neck cancer may need more dedicated resources in order to provide them with sufficient information and support during their care.
Contact: Belinda Goodwin
Reference: Dunn J, Goodwin B, Aitken J, March S, Crawford-Williams F, Ireland M, Ralph N, Zajdlewicz L, Rowe A, Chambers SK. Are National Cancer Control Indicators for patient experiences being met in regional and remote Australia? A cross-sectional study of cancer survivors who travelled for treatment. BMJ Open. 2021. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042507.