WHEN: Monday 28th September 12 noon
WHERE: Keats Reading Room (video to Ourimbah)
Effectiveness of a clinical practice change intervention in improving screening and referral of head and neck cancer patients for distress. Head and neck cancers have a particularly high mortality rate and a number of modifiable risk factors are responsible for their cause, including tobacco and alcohol use. Research has demonstrated that continued alcohol and tobacco use as well as depressive symptoms are highly prevalent in this population post diagnosis. However, relatively little is known about the prevalence of the co-occurrence of these factors during treatment and their combined relationship with radiotherapy outcome. Additionally, research in other cancer settings suggests that patients do not receive care consistent with best practice clinical practice guidelines to identify and manage psychosocial distress. Given the association between psychological distress and treatment outcomes in cancer patients, there is a need to ensure these guidelines are followed consistently.
The proposed research will be the first Australian trial to assess the prevalence of the co-occurrence of multiple risk behaviours that persist in those about to undergo radiotherapy; tobacco and alcohol use, in combination with depressive symptoms. This will be the first study to examine the impact of a clinical practice change intervention in improving the screening and referral of head and neck cancer patients for distress by oncology dietitians in accordance with best practice clinical guidelines. If effective, the intervention could serve as a model for improving the implementation of guidelines in other outpatient clinics in Australia and internationally.