Lack of Needs Assessment in Cancer Survivorship Care and Rehabilitation in Hospitals and Primary Care Settings

Charlotte Handberg, Charlotte Maria Jensen, Thomas Maribo


Background: Formalized and systematic assessment of survivorship care and rehabilitation needs is prerequisite for ensuring cancer patients sufficient help and support through their cancer trajectory. Patients are often uncertain as to how to express and address their survivorship care and rehabilitation needs, and little is known about specific, unmet needs and the plans necessary to meet them. There is a call for both ensuring survivorship care and rehabilitation for cancer patients in need and further for documenting the specific needs related to the cancer disease and its treatment. Thus the aim of this study was to describe specific survivorship care and rehabilitation needs and plans as stated by patients with cancer at hospitals when diagnosed and when primary care survivorship care and rehabilitation begins.

Methods: Needs assessment forms from cancer patients at two hospitals and two primary care settings were analyzed. The forms included stated needs and survivorship care and rehabilitation plans. All data were categorized using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Results: Eighty-nine patients at hospitals and 99 in primary care, stated their needs. Around 50% of the patients completed a survivorship care and rehabilitation plan. In total, 666 (mean 7.5) needs were stated by hospital patients and 836 (mean 8.0) by those in primary care. The needs stated were primarily within the ICF component body functions and structure, and the most frequent needs were (hospitals/primary care) fatigue (57%/67%), reduced muscle strength (55%/67%) and being worried (37%/36%).

Conclusions: The results underpin an urgent need for a systematic procedure to assess needs in clinical practice where cancer patients are being left without survivorship care and rehabilitation needs assessment. Gaining knowledge on needs assessment and the detailed description of needs and plans can facilitate targeted interventions. The findings indicate an urgent need to change the practice culture to be systematic in addressing and identifying survivorship care needs among patients with cancer. Further the findings call for considering the development of a new needs assessment form with involvement of both patients and healthcare professionals.

J Clin Med Res. 2017;9(10):864-871


Cancer; Survivorship care; Survivorship; Rehabilitation; Needs assessment; Hospitals; Primary care; International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

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