Patients with head and neck cancers (HNSCC) undergoing chemoradiotherapy (CRT) require complex multidisciplinary team involvement. An audit at Monash Cancer Centre (MCC) was commenced to evaluate the new CRT services for patients with HNSCC. The main aims were to measure patient and staff satisfaction and identify areas that can be improved for both.
The information for this project was collated through an audit process of HNSCC patients treated from 1st April 2016 to 1st April 2017. A patient questionnaire was developed based on the Department of Health and Human Services Patient Experience Survey for oncology patients. Furthermore, a questionnaire was also devised for staff working in this area.
A total of 101 patients were selected, of which 60 were eligible to participate. Thirty-four patients responded to the questionnaire. Overall 100% of patients were satisfied with the care received from all health professionals involved in their treatment. Over 30% of the patients thought they could have benefited from psychology input.
A total of 20 staff members from medical, nursing and allied health backgrounds completed the staff satisfaction survey. Most of the staff felt feeding issues, airway issues and social situation of the patients with HNSCC make it more demanding than other cancer types. Eighty percent of staff commented on potential barriers to improve services; mainly the requirements to optimise the process of clinic bookings, communication between various services and patient feeding issues require further optimisation.
The new head and neck CRT services at MCC has performed highly satisfactorily. This audit will establish benchmarks for future auditing. Areas requiring further improvement include staff support and training. In particular, optimising the availability of feeding services at MCC with consistency in the quality of treatment, as well as a system that maximises safety in a challenging care environment.