Psychosocial oncology services in New South Wales
There is limited published evidence about how psychosocial services should be organised or routinely integrated into cancer services to ensure that cancer patients receive appropriate psychological, social and emotional support during periods of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. This paper reports on a survey of 26 oncology services in New South Wales, Australia, to examine the current provision of psychosocial oncology services. The aim of the study was to gather baseline data and information about the provision of services and to identify significant challenges associated with the development and implementation of psychosocial oncology services. A total of 42% of staff at psycho-oncology services reported they could provide adequate psycho-oncology services, but 58% of sites said they could provide either only limited (27%) or very limited (31%) services. We found that services frequently identified challenges such as insufficient funding to employ skilled staff to provide psychosocial interventions, inadequate data to demonstrate the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions and, at times, lack of space to allow privacy for patient consultations. Future needs identified were strategic planning of psychosocial oncology services as part of broader cancer service plans, leadership of psychosocial oncology services, cohesive teams using agreed patient pathways or tools and integration into multi-disciplinary cancer teams
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