Older Person with Cancer Program 

The Older Person with Cancer Program is piloting evidence-based models of care to improve care outcomes. NEMICS is funding pilot projects at Austin, Eastern and Northern Health. The pilots aim to improve care provided to older people with cancer with a focus on: 

  • improving access to supportive care
  • supporting treatment decision-making.

They include:

  • screening patients using geri-oncology screening tools
  • risk-assessed access to geri-oncology assessment and intervention.

They will run throughout 2021 over a nine-month period.

 
Background

Why improving care for older people with cancer matters:
Half of cancer-related admissions to NEMICS health services are for people aged 70 or over (VAED 2018/19). This number is increasing as the Victorian population ages. Older people can experience poorer responses to treatment and poorer outcomes due to:

  • comorbidities that impact function and complicate management
  • complex polypharmacy issues
  • less access to clinical trials (older people make up less than 10% of trial participants)
  • the risk of over and under treatment due to limited age-adjusted evidence
  • social isolation.

In 2019, the Victorian Integrated Cancer Service (VICS) conducted a geri-oncology scoping project.
Recommendations included:

  • using standardised geriatric oncology screening tools across Victoria
  • a multi-disciplinary approach to delivering services for older people with cancer
  • educational programs for clinicians and older patients with cancer.

In 2020, NEMICS investigated care coordination for older cancer patients across our region. Findings identified gaps in care coordination and knowledge of services available. In 2020/21, we created a new guide to hospital and community-based services.

Contact: Bernadette.zappa@austin.org.au or 9496 3322

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