The role of cancer care coordinators can vary enormously. The aim of this study was to identify the geographic location and scope of practice of cancer care coordinators (CCCs) in Victoria, to inform further integration of these roles into cancer services across Victoria.
An online survey was disseminated through 15 peak organisations for oncology health professionals (including COSA) to individuals whose work involved coordinating the care of cancer patients in Victoria.
Preliminary analysis was conducted on a sample of 71 respondents who completed the survey. Only a quarter had the job title of Cancer Care Coordinator (n=18; 25.4%). Overall, 67.6% (n=48) reported they were specifically funded to coordinate the care of cancer patients, while the remainder reported it was part of their role, with 14.1% (n=10) originally employed to undertake other activities; 33.8% (n=24) devoted all their time to coordinating the care of cancer patients.
The majority had a nursing background (n=66; 94.3%); 76.1% (n=54) worked in public hospitals and 15.5% (n=11) in private hospitals; 44.3% (n=31) were located in non-metropolitan Victoria. Tasks frequently undertaken by CCCs when seeing patients included assessing their clinical and supportive care needs (n=62, 87.3%) and providing them with information about their cancer (n=54; 76.1%).
Fifty-five percent of respondents (n=39) reported that all cancer patients were eligible to receive support from a CCC, however, in 39.4% of cases (n=28), only patients with a particular type of cancer (commonly breast and prostate) were eligible. Just under three quarters (n=52; 74.3%) of respondents reported that demand for the service was greater than its capacity.
These results suggest that the cancer care coordinator workforce in Victoria is diverse and there is considerable demand for the service. Implications for development of cancer care coordinator roles will be discussed.