Care Coordination for Older Australians with Cancer

This project is an initiative of Cancer Australia funded by the Australian Government.

It aims to improve care coordination and supportive care for cancer patients in the Hume region over 70 years of age by developing a system for routine screening for support care needs.

Background

The median age of patients at the first diagnosis of cancer in Australia is 67 years, so the majority of patients may be considered elderly. By the year 2030 it is estimated that approximately 70% of all cancers will be diagnosed in older adults. The problem of cancer in the elderly is therefore growing and research in the field is lacking.

This project

The CCOAC project final report was provided to Cancer Australia in September 2011. Screening newly diagnosed cancer patients who attend BMO and ROV continues through sup[port from Hume RICS and utilising the screening tool which was developed during the project and which is based on the 'Adelaide Tool'.

Project Conclusions

 This project developed a model of supportive care screening of newly diagnosed cancer patients aged over 70 years, linking them, where appropriate, to assessment by aged care or community services. The model is feasible, accessible and provides a clear message that this model makes a positive difference to a patient's cancer journey. 

It is possible to use existing community based resources not previously accessed by oncology services on a routine basis. 

The needs of carers must be addressed concurrently with the supportive care needs of patients, particularly for this age cohort. 

Engaging general practitioners (GPs) within this model is problematic and reflects this issue in the health sector more broadly. 

Health literacy, and the assumptions made about the health literacy of this patient cohort, has an impact on the type of support sought and/or accepted, and needs to be further addressed. 

Ongoing and effective change management and relationship building is key to the sustainability of this model. The Geriatric Cancer Care Coordinator (GCCC) position is consequently a critical component.

Related files

The CCOAC project established a unique model of care, and evaluated this model using the data it collected throughout the project.

Share this page: