Evaluating Survivorship Care Plans: Results of a Randomized, Clinical Trial of Patients With Breast Cancer

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario, Canada.
Journal of Clinical Oncology (Impact Factor: 18.43). 12/2011; 29(36):4755-62. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.36.8373
Source: PubMed


An Institute of Medicine report recommends that patients with cancer receive a survivorship care plan (SCP). The trial objective was to determine if an SCP for breast cancer survivors improves patient-reported outcomes.
Women with early-stage breast cancer who completed primary treatment at least 3 months previously were eligible. Consenting patients were allocated within two strata: less than 24 months and ≥ 24 months since diagnosis. All patients were transferred to their own primary care physician (PCP) for follow-up. In addition to a discharge visit, the intervention group received an SCP, which was reviewed during a 30-minute educational session with a nurse, and their PCP received the SCP and guideline on follow-up. The primary outcome was cancer-related distress at 12 months, assessed by the Impact of Event Scale (IES). Secondary outcomes included quality of life, patient satisfaction, continuity/coordination of care, and health service measures.
Overall, 408 survivors were enrolled through nine tertiary cancer centers. There were no differences between groups on cancer-related distress or on any of the patient-reported secondary outcomes, and there were no differences when the two strata were analyzed separately. More patients in the intervention than control group correctly identify their PCP as primarily responsible for follow-up (98.7% v 89.1%; difference, 9.6%; 95% CI, 3.9 to 15.9; P = .005).
The results do not support the hypothesis that SCPs are beneficial for improving patient-reported outcomes. Transferring follow-up to PCPs is considered an important strategy to meet the demand for scarce oncology resources. SCPs were no better than a standard discharge visit with the oncologist to facilitate transfer.

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    • "SCP format and content. Of the 10 studies, 9 evaluated paperbased SCPs (Grunfeld et al, 1996, 2006, 2011; Oeffinger et al, 2010; Jefford et al, 2011; Spain et al, 2012; Blinder et al, 2013; Brothers et al, 2013; Hershman et al, 2013) and one evaluated a web-based document (Blaauwbroek et al, 2012) (Table 1). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Eight years after the Institute of Medicine recommended survivorship care plans (SCPs) for all cancer survivors, this study systematically reviewed the evidence for their use. Methods: Studies evaluating outcomes after implementation of SCPs for cancer survivors were identified by searching databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane). Data were extracted and summarised. Results: Ten prospective studies (2286 survivors) met inclusion criteria (5 randomised controlled trials (RCTs)). Study populations included survivors of breast, gynaecological, colorectal and childhood cancer. Several models of SCP were evaluated (paper based/on-line, oncologist/nurse/primary-care physician-delivered and different templates). No significant effect of SCPs was found on survivor distress, satisfaction with care, cancer-care coordination or oncological outcomes in RCTs. Breast cancer survivors with SCPs were better able to correctly identify the clinician responsible for their follow-up care. One study suggested a positive impact on reducing unmet needs. Levels of survivor satisfaction with, and self-reported understanding of, their SCP were very high. Feasibility was raised by health professionals as a significant barrier, as SCPs took 1-4 h of their time to develop. Conclusions: Emerging evidence shows very few measurable benefits of SCPs. Survivors reported high levels of satisfaction with SCPs. Resource issues were identified as a significant barrier to implementation.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · British Journal of Cancer
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    • "Based on the pre-implementation findings, we conceptualized a SCP that included multiple components: web-based and paper-based, and tailored to the specific needs of both patients and providers. This is a more holistic approach than is usually cited in the literature; most SCPs consist of providing written treatment summaries and instructions for follow-up monitoring [8,9,11]. Fortunately this is beginning to change and more tools are available than when we began our study [27,28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Following the completion of treatment and as they enter the follow-up phase, breast cancer patients (BCPs) often recount feeling 'lost in transition', and are left with many questions concerning how their ongoing care and monitoring for recurrence will be managed. Family physicians (FPs) also frequently report feeling ill-equipped to provide follow-up care to BCPs. In this three-phase qualitative pilot study we designed, implemented and evaluated a multi-faceted survivorship care plan (SCP) to address the information needs of BCPs at our facility and of their FPs. In Phase 1 focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with 35 participants from three stakeholder groups (BCPs, FPs and oncology specialist health care providers (OHCPs)), to identify specific information needs. An SCP was then designed based on these findings, consisting of both web-based and paper-based tools (Phase 2). For Phase 3, both sets of tools were subsequently evaluated via focus groups and interviews with 26 participants. Interviews and focus groups were audio taped, transcribed and content analysed for emergent themes and patterns. In Phase 1 patients commented that web-based, paper-based and human resources components were desirable in any SCP. Patients did not focus exclusively on the post-treatment period, but instead spoke of evolving needs throughout their cancer journey. FPs indicated that any tools to support them must distill important information in a user-friendly format. In Phase 2, a pilot SCP was subsequently designed, consisting of both web-based and paper-based materials tailored specifically to the needs of BCPs as well as FPs. During Phase 3 (evaluation) BCPs indicated that the SCP was effective at addressing many of their needs, and offered suggestions for future improvements. Both patients and FPs found the pilot SCP to be an improvement from the previous standard of care. Patients perceived the quality of the BCP-FP relationship as integral to their comfort with FPs assuming follow-up responsibilities. This pilot multi-component SCP shows promise in addressing the information needs of BCPs and the FPs who care for them. Next steps include refinement of the different SCP components, further evaluation (including usability testing), and planning for more extensive implementation.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
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    • "Interventions for early-stage breast cancer patients have frequently combined elements of psychoeducational and other psychosocial support, stress management techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy [36, 37]. In a study by Grunfeld et al. [38], compilation of survivorship care plans and a psychoeducational session were undertaken in a pragmatic trial that was consistent with usual practices and feasible to implement within time and human resource constraints. It is important to examine whether interventions need to combine psychoeducational, emotional, and physical support while considering timing of such interventions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Most breast cancer patients receive psychosocial support interventions. However, the effectiveness of these interventions has not yet been clarified. Quality of life (QOL) was an important construct that should be considered when assessing these interventions. The purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of psychosocial and especially psychoeducational support interventions for early-stage breast cancer patients since the follow-up was bound up to 6 months after finishing the intervention. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify randomized controlled trials with early-stage breast cancer patients receiving psychosocial (psychoeducational and other) support in which QOL was measured as a treatment outcome. We compared mean differences at less than 6 months post-intervention with a control group. The primary outcome was Global Health Status/QOL scale (Global QOL), and secondary outcomes were the subscales of QOL. No significant effect was observed for Global QOL; however, individuals receiving psychosocial support scored higher on the Breast Cancer Symptoms subscale. For psychoeducational support in the psychosocial support, significant effect was observed on the Emotional subscale. Our analysis strengthens the evidence of the effectiveness of psychosocial support in improving breast cancer symptoms and psychoeducational support in improving emotional well-being within 6 months post-intervention.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Quality of Life Research
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