Aim Australian and United Kingdom cancer survivorship guidelines recommend the use of specialist services for complex problems arising from cancer treatment. A multidisciplinary optimisation clinic for cancer patients with complex needs was commenced at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in August 2017 providing up to 8-weeks of nutritional counselling, exercise prescription, fatigue management and psychological support individualised to patient needs. This qualitative study aimed to understand the experience of patients treated in the optimisation clinic, focusing on patient acceptability.
Methods After completing treatment in the optimisation clinic, patients were invited to participate in an interview. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using an interpretive description method. Initial categories were generated and grouped into sub-themes of related categories. Sub-themes were sorted, synthesised and organised to develop broader themes.
Results Nine patients participated in semi-structured interviews. Interviews ceased when the interview identified no new information. Analysis of interviews identified six inter-related themes: integration, individualised care, quality of care, convenience, multidisciplinary care and model in evolution. Patients felt the clinic facilitated integration through partnerships with community-based health programs, access to a team of clinicians provided individualised care, and incorporation of concurrent appointments saved time and provided them with a broader prospective. Interview responses suggested patients found the clinic to be convenient. A multidisciplinary clinic allowed patients to conveniently discuss their needs with a group of clinicians simultaneously, avoiding constant repetition, resulting in effective and productive consultations.
Conclusions The multidisciplinary structure of this clinic is its greatest difference in comparison to usual care and patients emphasised benefits of this feature. Patient responses suggest that a multidisciplinary clinic model is vital in providing comprehensive, timely and effective care. The results of this study will provide a framework to inform ongoing improvements to the model of care.