In 2008, the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering) released its influential report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, which called attention to the importance of the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and the consequences of these needs remaining unmet. The IOM report concludes:
Attending to psychosocial needs should be an integral part of quality cancer care. All components of the health care system that are involved in cancer care should explicitly incorporate attention to psychosocial needs.
Today, there is an increasing body of knowledge around this area, and organizations like the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and others are including distress screening as part of their guidelines and accreditation standards.
ACCC, along with its project partner APOS, identified three ACCC member programs that are serving as model sites for the “Psychosocial Distress Screening” project.
For most providers and other professionals in the healthcare industry, information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is coming fast and furious. As we strive to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus, a "new normal" of patient care delivery has for many of us materialized seemingly overnight. Our workdays are likely getting busier, and our home lives more complicated. It’s getting more and more difficult to find the time we’d like to comb through this information tsunami, much less connect with our colleagues.
As professionals in the oncology community, our needs are unique. Questions about how to care for chronically ill patients—who are perhaps immunosuppressed and require ongoing, scheduled treatment—raise a multitude of concerns in a world in which “social distancing” and self-quarantines are often a necessity. Of course, clinical concerns represent only one of the many facets of cancer care delivery. Patients with cancer may require the ongoing services of social workers, financial navigators, nutritionists, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and others. Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 have confined many indoors, leaving providers and patients who depend on face-to-face contact to deliver and receive services feeling without direction.
To help provide some much-needed guidance, ACCC has developed a curated Coronavirus Response Page available to all that we are continually updating with information specific to the needs of the multidisciplinary cancer care team. Together, these resources can help you stay abreast of the most relevant information about COVID-19 and its effects on oncology care.
Of course, not all available resources are going to address your specific concerns in this unprecedented time. To get feedback from your colleagues in the oncology community, the ACCCExchange listserv is available to all ACCC members as a platform to ask questions and crowdsource practical solutions. Being able to tap into the knowledge and expertise of your colleagues is more important than ever during a time in which answers are neither easy nor clear. ACCCExchange allows you to connect with other cancer care professionals who are facing your same issues and may have suggestions you haven’t thought of before.
The ACCCExchange community includes clinical, supportive, and administrative staff, including nurses, social workers, program directors, financial navigators, therapists, administrators, billing specialists, and others. Some current threads on ACCCExchange include discussions about:
Please spread the news among other ACCC members about this resource and direct them to our curated Coronavirus Response Page. As circumstances regarding COVID-19 evolve, we will share the best approaches and solutions that come out of the ACCCExchange community.