A cancer diagnosis represents a major life stressor causing considerable distress. Cancer Council 13 11 20 provides practical, informational and emotional support for people affected by cancer. Distress screening is routinely used to identify the nature and extent of distress experienced by people affected by cancer and guides referral to appropriate support services. A call back service was investigated and introduced to extend the existing service to optimise efficiency, accessibility and utilisation by underserved groups.
A scoping project informed the implementation of the call back service as part of the existing service. Published Literature, grey literature and consultation with other health service organisations were all reviewed. Consideration was given to models of service; eligibility criteria; referral pathways and impact of the service. System functionality was improved to facilitate efficient and reliable scheduling of the call back. Staff were trained to ensure competence in referral to service and call back functionality.
The Call back service provides an extension of services provided by Cancer Council 13 11 20 to include a call back for clients with clinically significant levels of distress, approximately one week following their initial call to 13 11 20. It provides an opportunity for the nurse to reassess distress levels and address unmet needs by providing additional information and support.
A formal evaluation of the service will consider client and staff acceptability and impact on service utilisation.
Effective change management process led to successful implementation of the call back service.
With appropriate training and support, a call back service was successfully implemented into the existing Cancer Council SA 13 11 20 service, increasing capacity to address unmet needs in the provision of cancer information and support.