Improving cancer patient experience with a multidisciplinary palliative assessment and radiotherapy clinic

University Hospital Southampton

  • Run by University Hospital Southampton, in partnership with the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.
  • Will focus on the care of cancer patients.
  • Aiming to improve the experience and care of cancer patients by combining assessment by palliative care and clinical oncology specialists with the planning and delivery of radiotherapy, in a single hospital visit.
  • Will develop a rapid access, multidisciplinary palliative assessment and radiotherapy treatment clinic.

Patients with cancer-induced bone pain often wait weeks to receive palliative radiotherapy treatment and to have an assessment by specialist palliative care services and other allied health professionals (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics). While waiting, they continue to have psychological distress and potentially debilitating physical problems.

One treatment of palliative radiotherapy reduces cancer-induced bone pain in 60% of people, and completely removes pain in 25%.

Access to palliative care services for cancer patients relies on an entirely separate referral pathway. Similarly, access to assessment by allied health professionals is limited and via a further separate set of pathways.

Experience and research in other areas of the world have demonstrated the feasibility of combining assessments from a number of different specialists with the entire radiotherapy pathway, in one hospital visit. However, few of these services have also incorporated specialist palliative care assessment. 

This project will involve developing a rapid access, multidisciplinary palliative assessment and radiotherapy treatment clinic at University Hospital Southampton.  The aim is to combine assessment by specialist professionals from palliative care and clinical oncology with the planning and delivery of palliative radiotherapy.

The clinic will perform a process in a single half-day visit which normally takes 2-3 weeks and at least three separate appointments.

The aim is to improve referral to treatment timescales; manage patients closer to home once stabilised; reduce the number of GP visits; reduce outpatient visits, non-elective admissions and associated length of stay; and earlier reduction of pain and improved patient mental health and wellbeing.

Contact details

For more information about this project, plase contact Dr Paul Fenton, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at University Hospitals Southampton.

 

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