Cancer patients in crisis: responding to urgent needs – Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) – 21 November 2012

Posted on November 22, 2012. Filed under: Emergency Medicine, Oncology, Radiology | Tags: , |

Cancer patients in crisis: responding to urgent needs – Royal College of Physicians (RCP), Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) – 21 November 2012

full report 

“Emergency admissions for patients with cancer remain problematic despite the development of acute oncology. There is more that could be done to improve their care and subsequent experiences and outcomes.

Patients and their carers often have a lack of information about what to expect and who to contact when their condition suddenly worsens and requires urgent medical attention – this is often referred to as a crisis.  Cancer management is complex and involves a number of teams and there has been little emphasis on planning for potential problems.  More proactive care would ensure that patients, their carers and health professionals are better equipped to respond when a person becomes acutely unwell.

When admitted to hospital there is a need to improve decision-making, coordination of care and communication between professionals and – crucially – with patients themselves. In unplanned and urgent situations, patients themselves may receive confusing or conflicting information or feel less able to assert their concerns and wishes. Too often patients receive fragmented care. Patients are often seen by multiple healthcare professionals and sometimes multiple medical specialties during an admission.

This results in some patients being treated suboptimally, especially where the cancer diagnosis clouds other considerations in their management. Others, especially nearing the end of life, may undergo repeated investigations and interventions that are not to their benefit. Some admissions, especially among patients already approaching the end of life, may be avoidable.

This new report Cancer patients in crisis: responding to urgent needs from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Royal College of Radiologists (RCR), including a foreword from Professor Sir Mike Richards, national clinical director for cancer, provides decision making tools to health professionals working in hospitals and the community, to help improve the care of cancer patients in crisis. It also proposes  standards of good practice in each care setting which should reduce risk and improve outcomes.

Patient and carer representative members of the working party have led on the development of an innovative planning wallet for patients. This is intended to encourage timely discussions about unexpected problems at any point in  a patient’s journey. It will prompt patients to seek and keep to hand important information and help to facilitate forward planning regarding their care.”

… continues on the media release site

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