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Research project

Workforce interventions for improving the outcomes for older people with cancer

Project overview

To provide an overview of the evidence base on the effectiveness of workforce interventions for improving the outcomes for older people with cancer, as well as analysing key features of the workforce associated with those improvements we undertook a systematic review.

Studies (n=24) included 4555 patients aged 60+ from targeted cancer screening to end of life care. Interventions were diverse and two-thirds of the studies were assessed as low quality. Only two studies directly targeted workforce knowledge and skills and only two studies addressed the nature of workforce features related to improved outcomes. Interventions focused on discrete groups of older people with specific needs offering guidance or psychological support were more effective than those broadly targeting survival outcomes. Advanced Practice Nursing roles, voluntary support roles and the involvement of geriatric teams provided some evidence of effectiveness.

An array of workforce interventions focus on improving outcomes for older people with cancer but these are diverse and thinly spread across the cancer journey. Higher quality and larger scale research that focuses on workforce features is now needed to guide developments in this field, and review findings indicate that interventions targeted at specific subgroups of older people with complex needs, and that involve input from advanced practice nurses, geriatric teams and trained volunteers appear most promising.


Lead researcher

Professor Jackie Bridges PhD MSN BN(Hons) PGCert

Prof of Older People's Care

Research interests

  • Older people’s care and support
  • Professional work and workforce development
  • Organisational behaviour
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Other researchers

Professor Peter Griffiths

Chair in Health Services Research

Research interests

  • Health workforce
  • Epidemiology
  • Nursing
Connect with Peter