Addressing the supportive care needs of those impacted by cancer requires an ability to be able to respond in dynamic, fluid ways to a range of people with a range of experiences. Critical to responsiveness is the need to understand how the service system in the context of policy can coordinate an effective response that goes beyond the acute setting so that individual care needs no matter who you are, where you live or what your diagnosis, can be met.
Information and Support Services at the Cancer Council Victoria has just completed qualitative research across Victoria to increase its understanding of what are the effective services, programs and policies that can respond to a diverse range of supportive care needs. The research although Victorian based has National implications. It included focus groups metropolitan and regional, supported by targeted group and individual interviews with patients, health professionals and cancer services ensuring cross tumour stream and stage of disease coverage,
This paper draws together the narratives of the individuals and the service system experience. It explores the possible impact of translating the findings from this research into effective responsive services, policies and programs. It concludes that if supportive care needs are to be meet we must re-examine our understanding of cancer and our often pragmatic resource conscious delivery of supportive care. As professionals who have responsibility in supportive care we must be conscious of the policies and legislation informing its delivery. It is proposed that there are opportunities for policy and law reform and that this can be achieved through effective relationships and partnerships.