Evaluation of the delivery of survivorship care plans for South Asian female breast cancer survivors residing in Canada
This paper focuses on phase iii of a study evaluating the development and implementation of a survivorship care plan (scp) that could ultimately improve post-treatment quality of life for South Asian (sa) breast cancer survivors (bcss). Evaluating the utility of the scp was important to understand how sociocultural influences might affect uptake of the scp by sa bcss, especially as they transition from treatment to community care.
Post-treatment discharge planning using an individualized scp at discharge for sa female breast cancer patients with stage i or ii disease was offered as a pilot service to oncologists at BC Cancer’s Fraser Valley and Abbotsford centres. A longitudinal study using a mixed-methods approach was used to evaluate the utility of that service at 1 year after discharge.
Participants (n = 16) completed a survey about their scp delivery experience, and a 1-year post implementation survey about the scp content and its utility. Most participants reported the discharge appointments to be extremely or very helpful with respect to post-treatment care questions. All have visited their family physicians for follow-up as recommended. The three major sources of support were family, faith, and family physician. Qualitative responses from the health care professionals who developed or implemented the scps identified two challenges in scp delivery: engaging patients or family members in relationship, and translating key information through interpreters.
It is important to evaluate the utility of scps for sa female survivors, who might differ from the general bcs population because of a different understanding of the disease; language barriers; strong influence of family members; societal stigmas; and personal, social, cultural, and religious beliefs and values. A formal nurse-led discharge appointment with discussions about follow-up care and an individualized scp outlining the short- and long-term effects of treatment are recommended. Particular attention has to be paid to the practical and psychosocial needs of sa bcss and their supporting family members.