Study Finds More Survivorship Programs Needed; Time and Funding Present the Greatest Barriers
February 8, 2011
An estimated 12 million people are cancer survivors, yet only 27% of nurses working in oncology report that their practice has a formal survivorship program.
The findings are part of a Web-based survey of oncology nurses conducted by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) as part of its ongoing long-term survivorship initiative. Results from the survey were published in the January 2011 issue of the Oncology Nursing Forum and describe current services provided and barriers to delivering survivorship care in various practice settings.
The survey also found that the most commonly provided follow-up survivorship care was scheduling for ongoing monitoring (71%); providing assistance for employment or legal issues (16%) was the least common. The greatest barriers to providing survivorship care were lack of time and funding (46%).
From the moment of diagnosis and for the remainder of the patient’s life, an individual diagnosed with cancer is considered a survivor. Patients undergoing cancer treatment often experience symptoms that develop or persist long after their active treatment ends and they need to develop and adapt to a new way of life. Oncology nurses help patients and their families navigate their way through the post-treatment phase of their lives.
“Our findings point to educational needs about survivorship care for oncology nurses and other healthcare professionals who will care for patients who have had cancer, as well as the need for research in models for delivering survivorship care that address barriers to care identified here,” said ONS research associate Margaret Irwin, RN, MN, PhD.
ONS’s survivorship initiative is aimed at identifying resources for nurses in all specialties who may be caring for patients who are survivors of adult cancers. The multipronged initiative will also address gaps in what is available and the development of resources to fill those gaps.
Coauthors of the article include Jennifer R. Klemp, MA, PhD, MPH, and Catherine Glennon, RN, MHS, BC, CAN, OCN®, from the University of Kansas Cancer Center, and Linda M. Frazier, MD, MPH, with the School of Medicine at the University of Kansas.
The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is a professional organization of more than 35,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals committed to excellence in oncology nursing and to leading the transformation of cancer care by initiating and actively supporting educational, legislative, and public awareness efforts to improve the care of people with cancer. ONS provides nurses and healthcare professionals with access to the highest quality educational programs, cancer care resources, research opportunities, and networks for peer support. Learn more at www.ons.org.