Supportive care screening is part of the Victorian Cancer Plan. Supportive Care Screening Tool (SCST) is currently not widely used among regional allied health providers working with cancer patients. This project aimed to raise awareness of the SCST and increase its use among allied health clinicians working in primary care settings in a town in Victoria.
In 2017, a survey was sent to all allied health workers in the Swan Hill District Health Service to identify knowledge of the tool and its contents. Selected stakeholders and department heads were asked for feedback on the Health professional‘s page of the SCST specific to making it effective for use by allied health staff working within primary care. An orientation pack and specific training was delivered.
At the initial survey only 45% of 20 allied health respondents had heard of the tool. All heads of physiotherapy, speech pathology, podiatry and counselling departments and the community rehabilitation centre attended education sessions about the background and benefits of introducing the SCST and received an orientation pack consisting of the SCST – with an updated Health professionals’ page; a document on how to ‘start the conversation’; a comprehensive list of SHDH cancer and supportive care services to aid referral; a referral pathway and; information about where to file the SCST in the medical record.
The project resulted in strong engagement and use of supportive care screening among allied health providers working in primary care. It has improved the ease of initiating a referral and ensured all health professionals across the primary care sector have access to the same supportive care information within the medical record.