J Oncol Pract 2019 Sep 7:JOP1900409. Epub 2019 Sep 7.
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
Purpose: A needs assessment of family caregivers (CGs) in our gynecologic oncology clinic found that 50% of CGs report nine or more distressing unmet needs, but only 19% of patients had a documented CG. We conducted an ASCO Quality Training Program project with the following aims: (1) to identify and document primary CGs for 85% of patients within two clinic visits of a gynecologic cancer diagnosis, and (2) assess the needs of and provide interventions to 75% of identified family CGs.
Methods: Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) methodology and tools endorsed by the ASCO Quality Training Program were used. An interprofessional team reviewed baseline data (ie, any mention of a family CG in the electronic health record visit note; CG distress survey), defined the problem and project aims, created process maps, and identified root causes of poor CG identification and documentation. Eight successive PDSA cycles were implemented between October 2018 and March 2019 to address identified root causes.
Results: For aim 1, CG identification increased from 19% at baseline to 57% postimplementation, whereas for aim 2, assessment improved from 28% at baseline to 60% postimplementation. Results fell somewhat short of initial goals, but they represent an important initial improvement in care. The core team has begun additional PDSA cycles to improve CG identification rates and extend the momentum of the project.
Conclusion: This project demonstrated that a CG assessment protocol can be implemented in a large, academic, gynecologic oncology clinic. Additional efforts to integrate CG identification, assessment, and intervention more fully within the clinic and electronic health record are under way.