Assessing cancer patients experiences of care: the Victorian experience. (#238)
Background: Victorian Government policy has prioritised the need to create better care experiences for cancer patients. Regular patients’ experiences surveys monitor progress in improving patients’ experiences and provide direction regarding areas for further improvement.
Aim: To assess patient journey/care experiences of cancer patients treated in metropolitan and regional public hospitals in Victoria.
Method: Patients were identified through the Victorian Admitted Episodes Database. Eligible patients had attended a participating treatment centre for treatment of invasive cancer within the past 18 months; were aged 18 and over; and could read and write English. Department of Health staff supplied the sample list to participating treatment centres following a death check. Hospital staff mailed the survey to patients.
Result: 509 completed surveys were returned (45% response). 60% were aged 50-79 years and 52% male. 71% had surgery, 41% had chemotherapy and 37% had radiotherapy. Patients were generally very satisfied with care received (surgery 78%; chemotherapy 82%; radiotherapy 85%). Areas of surgical care that could be improved were: ensuring patients better understood explanations of care (42%); better side-effects management (18%); timing of response to patients needing assistance (35%); information about managing at home after discharge (20%). For chemotherapy 14% wanted more information about managing side-effects at home and 10% indicated staff could have done more to manage side-effects. 31% went to an Emergency Department (ED) because of their cancer. Of these 29% thought their condition was not well managed and 24% thought few staff had knowledge or skills to manage their condition.
Conclusion: Victorian cancer patients treated in public hospitals are generally satisfied with care received. However, improvements could be made to the care surgical patients receive and management of side effects from chemotherapy. Interventions may include communication skills training for staff and reviewing procedures regarding provision of information about managing at home. Providing ED staff with more information about cancer care may also be needed.