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Research project: Developing a set of patient-reported outcome measures for cancer chemotherapy services - Dormant - Dormant

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Significant variations exist between chemotherapy units, both nationally and internationally, in terms of the extent to which patients experience treatment-associated problems and the supportive care they receive. The aims of this study were to; firstly, assess the types of problems patients undergoing chemotherapy commonly experienced; and secondly, to development and pilot quality indicators that benchmark both problem prevalence and the quality of supportive services received by patients. These quality indicators can help facilitate service improvement for chemotherapy services.

The study involved four stages.  Stage 1 involved the generation of a list of treatment-related problems from patient respondents to a previous PROM survey and a scoping review of recent research papers. In Stage 2 a consensus exercise was conducted amongst patients and clinicians to review the results of Stage 1 and agree upon the most frequently experienced problems and those that were most severe when experienced. Questions were also devised that asked patients to indicate the quality of supportive care they had received from all members of their clinical team. Stage 3 involved cognitively testing of the draft item list that emerged from the previous stages. Finally in Phase 4 the quality indicators were piloted in six cancer centres in England.

A scoping review in the first phase identified 27 problem domains reported within existing literature. These were compared against a list of 36 problems identified by chemotherapy patients, and consensus was reached within a reference panel of patients and clinicians on the 17 most bothersome problems in terms of frequency/ severity. Questions concerning supportive care were also agreed upon. The finalised item list was piloted and found acceptable. The pilot indicated the existence of a high prevalence of problems experienced by chemotherapy patients, often quite severe. Variations were found in the level of supportive care provided between participating cancer centres, and respondents reported greater supportive care for symptoms than for social and emotional problems.

Project team

Professor Alison Richardson

Professor Peter Griffiths

Dr Richard Wagland

Dr Elaine Lennan

Project funder

National Cancer Action Team (NCAT)


Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes

Key Publication

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