ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — A team of healthcare providers at Sweetwater Regional Cancer Center recently provided a presentation during the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s virtual Quality Training Program Meeting.
Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County’s Cancer Center earlier this year was among 10 oncology practices nationwide to receive a three-year grant from the ASCO to target improvement in the delivery of cancer care in medically underserved communities.
“Sharing our project and listening to other cancer center’s presentations was an awesome learning experience,” said Cancer Center Director Tasha Harris. “It was really inspiring to hear about some of the projects that other cancer centers from around the country are undertaking and the great changes that these projects are leading to.”
As a quality improvement measure, the cancer team addressed “Improving End-of-Life Care with Advance Care Planning.” Cancer Center Nurse Practitioner Jackie Lindsey gave the presentation on behalf of the team.
The core team includes: Harris; Lindsey; Hematologist/Oncologist Dr. Banu Symington, the center’s medical director; and Clinical Coordinator Stacy Wells.
The team tackled the process of advance directives. They found that advance directives were included in only a few of their patients’ charts. An advance directive, in some cases, could have helped avoid unnecessary hospitalization, improved end-of-life care, and reduced wasteful healthcare costs.
The group compiled a baseline data summary including patient population; methodology; data sources, collection frequency and limitations; and a process map.
The team’s aim over three months offered advance care planning including screening, education and documentation of an advance directive, with follow-up to all new oncology patients. The target goal is to have 75% of patient charts include documentation of advance directives or documentation that advance care planning was offered and refused.
After completing the process, Lindsey said the team came away with several key points to target.
“Moving forward we hope to develop a new process,” Lindsey said at the end of the presentation. “We want to make sure screening is done in one place. This screening will then give us a streamlined referral and education process. We will have one educator that will be responsible for follow-up and completion of the advance directive. We hope this will impact not only the cancer center, but our patients, their families, and the entire health system in Rock Springs.”