Supportive Care Screening Projects

Hume RICS introduced the Supportive Care Screening (SCS) Service Grants in April 2011 for the four public oncology sites in the Hume region as a mechanism for implementing systematic supportive care screening for cancer patients across the region and beyond.


Supportive Care is an integral part of quality cancer care. Delivering a high standard of care involves providing all cancer patients and their families with an opportunity to identify their supportive care needs at multiple points throughout their journey. Implementation of a validated screening tool into the clinical care at the oncology sites will assist in achieving systematic identification of supportive care needs.


The SCS Service Grants aimed to assist the four public oncology services within the Hume region to establish working groups, consisting of representatives of day oncology, management, consumer, local allied health providers, local district nursing service and Hume RICS, to provide advice and support in relation to the development, implementation and sustainability of a SCS model and subsequent referral system.


Goulburn Valley Health

At Goulburn Valley Health screening practice and referral pathways were built around the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centres Supportive Needs Screening Tool (SNST).

Supportive care needs screening is now built into a comprehensive initial assessment, which captures all new patients for screening on their first presentation to Oncology, before the patient visits a consultant.

The process of routine, systematic and comprehensive screening is able to identify the current and potential priorities, needs and experiences of those affected by cancer and their information and management preferences. The screening identifies gaps in a patients existing support system and provide immediate responses and referrals to high-level needs.

Kilmore & District Health Service

At Kilmore & District Health (KDH), screening practices were built around the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centres SNST.

KDH has increased knowledge of supportive care screening to oncology clients, staff and GP’s and is continuing as part of the Quality Plan of the Day Oncology Unit and Acute Ward. A Supportive Care Screening Policy and Procedure was developed and successfully implemented and KDH is continuing to ensure that the screening of newly diagnosed patients with cancer continues.

Albury Wodonga Health

At Albury Wodonga Health (AWH) Albury campus, screening practices and referral pathways were built around the Distress Thermometer (DT) and Problem Checklist.

The Oncology Social Worker (OSW) provides new patients presenting for chemotherapy at the oncology unit in Albury with the screening tool and a letter explaining its purpose. Copies of the completed screening tools are placed in the patients file and provided to the OSW to make follow-up calls and referrals.

The SCS Project has increased awareness by patients of the Social Worker services available and enhanced discussions between patients and professionals in the early stages of a cancer diagnosis so that important issues around supportive care can be addressed promptly.

Northeast Health Wangaratta

At Northeast Health Wangaratta (NHW) the DT was introduced into two domains - the Breast Care Service and Day Oncology Unit in order to screen for patient’s Supportive Care needs.

Supportive Care education was provided to three acute sector Social Workers, all Oncology Nurses and two Breast Care Nurses. This training enables health professionals to provide patients with screening utilising the DT at specified points throughout their cancer journey. Once screening had taken place patients who require referral are referred appropriately as outlined in internal processes.

Victoria’s Cancer Action Plan 2008-2011 identifies that by 2012, 50% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients will be screened for supportive care needs.

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