Step by step development of clinical care pathways for older cancer patients: Necessary or desirable?

Published:September 17, 2007DOI:


      Medical and nursing staff in oncology for older cancer patients are confronted with a range of problems including co-morbidity, poly-pharmacy, cognitive impairments, emotional problems, functional limitations, sensory impairment and a lack of social support. Comprehensive geriatric assessment identifies many of the existing problems and can be used to estimate life expectancy and tolerance of treatment. However, health care providers have to interpret and apply the medical and nursing information and must deal with specific problems and care needs throughout the continuum of cancer care. Imperfect interdisciplinary communication, cooperation and patient–provider communication may further complicate the care actually delivered. A clinical care pathway aims to improve continuity, increase multidisciplinary tuning and deliver appropriate patient education, treatment and care for vulnerable older cancer patients. This paper gives an overview of common problems in older cancer patients and addresses communication barriers through the development of clinical care pathways in geriatric oncology.


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