Cancer Care Improvements: How Do Survivorship Care Plans Impact Quality of Life?

Cancer Care Improvements

Survivorship care plans (SCPs) were created in effort to help the increasing number of cancer survivors (now more than 15.5 million survivors in the United States). Now, with the focus on survivorship cancer care improvements, more attention is being paid to the use of SCPs and the impact it has on a cancer patient’s quality of life.

Post Cancer Care Improvements

Once treatment ends, it’s common for patients to feel like they’re being tossed back into life after cancer with little (or no) attention paid to their recurrence concerns, treatment effects, future care follow-up and a whole world of unknowns. Survivorship care plans have become an essential component to improve cancer care and ensure quality of care for patients during and after their treatment.

In fact, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and professional oncology groups recommend the use of an individualized survivorship care plan, which includes a patient’s treatment received and maps out their follow-up care. It is also designed to help patients deal with the ongoing challenges of survivorship and barriers to post-cancer care.

Survivorship Care Plans and Cancer Care Improvements

As efforts to provide post cancer care improvements expand, professional oncology organizations will continue to develop necessary quality measures for survivorship care plans.

The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer (CoC), for example, released the Cancer Program Standards 2012 Version 1.1: Ensuring Patient Centered Care. Outlining the standards the report focuses on patient-centered needs and brings additional attention to quality of care and patient cancer care improvements. The new standards, implemented in 2015, include survivorship care plans.To achieve or maintain CoC accreditation, cancer programs must develop and implement a process to disseminate comprehensive care summaries and follow-up care plans for cancer patients through survivorship.

Putting Cancer Care Improvements Into Practice

Beyond meeting accreditation standards, SCPs offer the opportunity for cancer care improvements and provide valuable information as patients progress through life after cancer. The goal is to help patients and their families navigate through life after cancer treatment, overcome barriers to post cancer care, help them understand required follow-up care and manage late effect and symptoms.

But, you may have read about the results from a recent NCI-supported trial that didn’t show favorable outcomes. This was mostly due to critical areas needed for additional and more thorough research. “Disappointingly to researchers, previous randomized trials of survivorship care plans have shown little impact on improving quality of life or addressing survivors’ health concerns. However, none of these trials had targeted low-income, underserved cancer survivors, who may have substantial survivorship care needs.”

The above results are yet another reason addressing barriers to minority participation in clinical research trials is so important. Read about this concern in our recent blog, Clinical Research Trials: Addressing Barriers To Minority Participation.”

ONCO, Your Total Solution Provider

As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, ongoing evaluations of treatments and survivorship care plans will continue to be key making post cancer care improvements. To support those needs, ONCO is your total-solution oncology registry software provider, offering only the best in unparalleled customer support, consulting services and innovative technology infrastructure.

Learn more about our full suite of registry solutions to help your organization gain and maintain CoC accreditation and make cancer care improvements. Nobody helps you do more with data than ONCO. Contact the experts at ONCO for more information: 800-604-7538.

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