e-Poster Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2020

Understanding the practice and confidence level of community-based allied-health professionals in providing cancer care in Sydney: a cross sectional survey. (#357)

Kerry Tiller 1 2 , Stella Jun 1 , Chris Tzar 1 3 , Gnana Spaile 1 4 , Sue Suchy, 1 , Mark F Harris 1
  1. Translational Cancer Research Network, University of New South Wales, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  2. Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia
  3. Lifestyle Clinic, University of New South Wales, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  4. Department of Dentistry, Prince of Wales Hospital , Randwick, NSW, Australia

As the incidence of cancer in Australia has increased, so have survival rates. Many cancer survivors need long-term health care by a range of practitioners including community-based allied health professionals (CBAH). Systems for shared care of cancer survivors between hospital-based services and community services are poorly developed despite evidence that long term shared care can have at least equivalent outcomes. Given these findings, there is a need to explore allied health professionals’ interest, education and confidence level in providing care and treatment for cancer survivors.This study aimed to identify the interest, skills and experience of CBAH professionals who care for people diagnosed with cancer in order to develop education opportunities to facilitate best practice support.  An online survey of CBAH professionals was conducted, asking participants to self-assess interest, skills and experience in providing care for cancer patients Of the 103 responses, the majority were from psychologists, exercise physiologists and occupational therapists. Most were working in private practice and many of their clients accessed services due to cancer related issues. Most referrals were from GPs or oncology specialists. Most respondents reported feeling extremely confident in providing care for clients with cancer related issues. A strong interest in building capacity in provision of cancer care was reported. The top three challenges indicated as barriers to cancer care provision were: lack of referrals, lack of experience, and lack of training opportunities to upskill in this area. These findings will help develop training materials and opportunities, which will strengthen CBAH services and help develop a referral network for hospital-based doctors and primary care physicians.