“What We Want Is More Access…”: Experiences of Supportive Cancer Care and Strategies for Advancement in a Canadian Provincial Cancer Care Organization Avery, Jonathan; Schulte, Hannah K.; Campbell, Kristin; Bates, Alan; McCune, Lisa; Howard, Fuchsia
Objectives: Despite calls for better supportive care, patients and families still commonly bear significant responsibility for managing the physical and mental health and social challenges of being diagnosed with and treated for cancer. As such, there is increased advocacy for integrated supportive care to ease the burden of this responsibility. The purpose of this study was to understand patient and caregiver experiences with supportive care to advance its delivery at a large provincial cancer care organization in Canada. Method: We used a qualitative descriptive approach to analyze focus groups with patients and caregivers from seven sites across the large provincial cancer care organization. Results: Focus group participants (n = 69) included cancer patients (n = 57) and caregivers (n = 12). Participants highlighted positive and negative aspects of their experience and strategies for improvement. These are depicted in three themes: (1) improving patient and provider awareness of services; (2) increasing access; (3) enhancing coordination and integration. Participants’ specific suggestions included centralizing relevant information about services, implementing a coach or navigator to help advocate for access, and delivering care virtually. Conclusions: Participants highlighted barriers to access and made suggestions for improving supportive care that they believed would reduce the burden associated with trying to manage their cancer journey.
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