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Support Care Cancer. 2014 Jul;22(7):1989-97. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2221-4. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Patient-centred care: making cancer treatment centres accountable.

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  • 1Health Behaviour Research Group, Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Level 4, HMRI Building, Callaghan, New South Wales, 2308, Australia,


Patient-centred care is argued to be an essential component in the delivery of quality health and cancer care. This manuscript discusses the need to generate credible data which indicates the quality of patient-centred care provided by cancer treatment centres. Patient-centred care covers six domains including physical comfort; emotional support; respect for patients' preferences and values; integration and coordination; involvement of family and friends; and the provision of information, communication and education to enable patients to understand and make informed decisions about their care. First, we identify priority areas within each domain. Next, we propose three questions that should be asked of every patient across the six domains of patient-centred care. The first question explores whether patients were specifically asked by a healthcare provider at the cancer treatment centre about their concerns, values and preferences. Research indicates that it cannot be assumed that clinicians are aware of patient's needs or preferences in these six areas. Second, if the answer from the patient suggests that they would like assistance, then it would be expected that this would be offered. Thirdly, if the patient indicates that they would like such assistance and it is provided, then it might be expected that the patient would report that the provided assistance did relieve their suffering, or the assistance provided was consistent with their preferences, needs and values. Regular measurement and reporting of these aspects of patient-centred cancer care has the potential to identify deficits and inequities in care delivery, allow for comparisons across treatment centres and stimulate an improvement in the patient-centred care provided to cancer patients.

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