Survivorship care plan information needs: Perspectives of safety-net breast cancer patients

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Abstract

Purpose Despite the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) 2005 recommendation, few care organizations have instituted standard survivorship care plans (SCPs). Low health literacy and low English proficiency are important factors to consider in SCP development. Our study aimed to identify information needs and survivorship care plan preferences of low literacy, multi-lingual patients to support the transition from oncology to primary care and ongoing learning in survivorship. Methods We conducted focus groups in five languages with African American, Latina, Russian, Filipina, White, and Chinese medically underserved breast cancer patients. Topics explored included the transition to primary care, access to information, knowledge of treatment history, and perspectives on SCPs. Results Analysis of focus group data identified three themes: 1) the need for information and education on the transition between "active treatment" and "survivorship"; 2) information needed (and often not obtained) from providers; and 3) perspectives on SCP content and delivery. Conclusions Our data point to the need to develop a process as well as written information for medically underserved breast cancer patients. An SCP document will not replace direct communication with providers about treatment, symptom management and transition, a communication that is missing in participating safety-net patients' experiences of cancer care. Women turned to peer support and community-based organizations in the absence of information from providers. Implications for Cancer Survivors "Clear and effective" communication of survivorship care for safety-net patients requires dedicated staff trained to address wide-ranging information needs and uncertainties.

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Burke, N. J., Napoles, T. M., Banks, P. J., Orenstein, F. S., Luce, J. A., & Joseph, G. (2016). Survivorship care plan information needs: Perspectives of safety-net breast cancer patients. PLoS ONE, 11(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0168383

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