The role of the practice nurse in cancer care reviews
Recent changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework provide an ideal opportunity to improve the quality of cancer care reviews and cancer patients' experiences. Sandra Dyer explains the important role practice nurses can play in improving care
Improved outcomes for people diagnosed with cancer have led to increasing numbers of people living with and beyond the disease, and for many, cancer has transitioned to a long-term condition. There is a greater need for models of care that best meet these patients' needs, with the role of primary care becoming increasingly important. Recent changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) provide an ideal opportunity to improve the quality of cancer care reviews and improve cancer patients' experiences. More education and training for general practice nurses on cancer is urgently required to allow them to lead on quality improvement in this important area of care.
Recent years have seen improved outcomes for people diagnosed with cancer, with average life expectancy increasing beyond 10 years on average (Maher et al, 2018). The numbers of people living with cancer continues to grow, with a lifetime risk of cancer of 1 in 2 (Ahmad et al, 2015). With increasing numbers of those living with and beyond cancer (Maddams et al, 2012), there is a greater need for models of care that best meet the needs of those who are surviving, with the role of primary care becoming increasingly important. For many, cancer has transitioned to a long-term condition (LTC).
With 70% of people with cancer having another LTC, as displayed in Figure 1 (Macmillan, 2015), this adds to the complexity of care provision. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2016) outlines best practice for people living with multi-morbidities and emphasises the value of an integrated and holistic approach to care. Initiatives to move follow-up care out of hospital (eg for prostate cancer) enable an integrated approach to care to be possible. In addition, there is growing recognition of the essential role primary care teams have in supporting those living with and beyond cancer, as they have regular ongoing contact with those patients through LTC management (Blane and Lewandowska, 2019).
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