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Survey: One in Four Dissatisfied With Cancer Care in U.S.

Hospital group says change is necessary to improve care experience (Apr. 15)

A national study commissioned by Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) — a national network of hospitals focusing on complex and advanced-stage cancer — has found that one-quarter of cancer patients and caregivers were not satisfied with their care, regardless of the treatment outcome. In addition, 20% of patients switched health care providers as a result of their dissatisfaction.

The study, which measured the comprehensive experience of cancer patients and their caregivers, indicates that serious gaps exist between expectations for care and the reality of care received today, the authors say.

The new report was based on a sample of 1,000 cancer patients and 1,000 caregivers at hospitals across the U.S.

“In the last several decades, great strides have been made in groundbreaking research, new cancer treatments, and the development of advanced technology,” said Stephen B. Bonner, President and CEO of CTCA. “According to the study, however, responding to patient and caregiver needs, expectations, and the overall cancer care experience has fallen behind the advances in clinical and medical treatment. Better communication and better total support were repeated requests by patients and caregivers.”

“We believe these results are a wake-up call to the healthcare community,” Bonner added.

In the new survey:

  • More than two-thirds of patients and caregivers said a specific individual to coordinate care was important to them; however, only one-third of respondents had access to a personal resource person.
  • Psychological counseling was rated number one among caregivers as the biggest driver in overall satisfaction, and yet only 26% said they received that support.
  • Patients and caregivers stressed the importance of communication and integrated care, from diagnosis through at-home follow-up, but there was a double-digit gap between that expectation and the reality of what they experienced.

Source: CTCA; April 15, 2013.

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