The aim of this study was to identify the location and scope of practice of cancer care coordinators (CCCs) in Victoria.
An online survey was disseminated through 14 peak organisations for oncology health professionals (including COSA) to individuals whose work involved coordinating the care of cancer patients.
Analysis was conducted on a sample of 91 survey respondents. Overall, 26.4% (n=24) reported a job title of Cancer Care Coordinator; 67.0% (n=61) reported they were specifically funded to coordinate the care of cancer patients and 30.8% (n=28) devoted all their time to this task.
CCCs worked with patients in outpatient (n=76, 83.5%), inpatient (n=62, 68.1%) and community (n=37, 40.6%) settings. Tasks frequently undertaken included assessing patient clinical and supportive care needs (n=77, 84.6%) and providing patients with information about their cancer (n=67; 73.6%).
The majority of CCCs had a nursing background (n=83; 91.2%); 80.2% (n=73) worked in public health services; 37.4% (n=34) were located in rural Victoria; and more than half worked part-time (n=49, 53.8%). The majority were funded by public health services (n=55, 60.4%) or philanthropy (n=19, 21.0%).
Compared with their metropolitan counterparts, rural CCCs were more likely to be funded by philanthropy (p=0.002); work part-time (p=0.017); and work with patients in the community (p<0.001). In 37.4% (n=34) of cases patients were required to have a particular type of cancer to receive care coordination. Positions funded by philanthropy were more likely to have this requirement (p=0.002).
The CCC workforce in Victoria is diverse and the service differs according to location and funding source. There may be inequities in care, with people living in particular areas, attending particular health services or with certain tumour types more likely to receive cancer care coordination. Further research is required to determine opportunities for improving CCC access to all patients.