Cancer Care Coordinator project

Improved access to cancer care coordinators has been a priority for the Clinical Network for a number of years. In 2016 the Clinical Network funded Deakin University to undertake mapping of cancer care coordinators (CCCs) and those who performed care coordination roles across Victoria. The aim of the project was to ascertain the current landscape of CCCs across Victoria including identification of their geographical locations and scope of practice. The final report is now available and the Executive Summary can be found here.

This project builds on the literature review commissioned by the Clinical Network in 2014 regarding the impact of cancer care coordinators on patient care.

The results provided data on the nature of the role, (i.e. the job titles, staff qualifications and experience and funding sources for the roles) their location across Victoria; the impact of cancer care coordination on patients, enablers and barriers to undertaking the role; and perceptions on the sustainability of the role.

Results of the survey indicate that during consultations with patients the majority of CCCs always:

  • Assessed the patient's clinical and supportive care needs
  • Provided them with information and education about their cancer
  • Planned and coordinated their clinical care, and
  • Referred them to other services

Further research is required to improve understanding of how the roles of metropolitan and rural CCCs differ, why those differences occur and funding decisions in relation to cancer care coordination in Victoria are made. The possibility of using or building on existing Victorian patient survey data should be explored to identify patients need for care coordination and their access to it. This information could be used to identify gaps in care coordination, and support workforce planning and service development. Research to examine the impact of the CCC role on the workload of hospital staff is recommended, including time and cost implications. 
 
Research examining the impact of care coordination on treatment outcomes has the potential to objectively demonstrate the impact of the role, but is costly and complex. It may be more practical and feasible to explore the possibility of evaluating existing standardised models of care coordination, such as that used by the McGrath Foundation. Likewise, existing data sources, such as those maintained by philanthropic organisations or health services, should be examined and built on to conduct research into the impact of care coordination. Opportunistic research, taking advantage of situations where CCC positions are about to commence or have been lost, may be more practical and reduce ethical concerns about withholding care coordination from patients. For inquiries regarding this project please contact the Clinical Network