Quality Improvement

Improving Palliative Care for Cancer (IOM and NRC, 2001)

Recommendation 6: Best available practice guidelines should dictate the standards of care for both physical and psychosocial symptoms. Care systems, payers, and standard-setting and accreditation bodies should strongly encourage their expedited development, validation, and use. Professional societies, particularly the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Oncology Nursing Society, and the Society for Social Work Oncology, should encourage their members to facilitate the development and testing of guidelines and their eventual implementation, and should provide leadership and training for nonspecialists, who provide most of the care for cancer patients.

NCCN Distress Management Clinical Practice Guidelines (NCCN, 2006)

  • Distress should be assessed and managed according to clinical practice guidelines.

  • Multidisciplinary institutional committees should be formed to implement standards for distress management.

  • Clinical health outcomes measurement should include assessment of the psychosocial domain (e.g., quality of life and patient and family satisfaction).

  • Quality of distress management should be included in institutional continuous quality improvement projects.

Meeting Psychosocial Needs of Women with Breast Cancer (IOM and NRC, 2004)

Providers of cancer care should meet the standards of psychosocial care developed by the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer and follow the National Comprehensive Cancer Center Network’s (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Distress.

From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition (IOM and NRC, 2006)

Recommendation 4 Quality of survivorship care measures should be developed through public/private partnerships and quality assurance programs implemented by health systems to monitor and improve the care that all survivors receive.

Continuity of Care

Living Beyond Cancer: Finding a New Balance (President’s Cancer Panel, 2004)

Recommendation 1a Upon discharge from cancer treatment, including treatment of recurrences, every patient should be given a record of all care received and important disease characteristics, this should include, at a minimum: …

  • Psychosocial … services provided.

  • Full contact information on treating institutions and key individual providers.

Recommendation 1b Upon discharge from cancer treatment, every patient should receive a follow-up care plan incorporating available evidence–based standards of care. This should include, at a minimum:

  • Information on possible future need for psychosocial support.

  • Referrals to specific follow-up care providers, support groups….

  • A listing of cancer-related resources and information (Internet-based sources and telephone listings for major cancer support organizations).

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