Quantifying Postdischarge Unmet Supportive Care Needs of People With Colorectal Cancer: A Clinical Audit

Colorectal Dis. 2011 Dec;13(12):1400-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2010.02478.x.


Aim: There are limited data concerning the unmet needs experienced by patients with colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to identify unmet supportive care needs of people with colorectal cancer following discharge from hospital.

Method: Health service utilization was used as a measure of expressed unmet need. A retrospective case note review was conducted of 521 patients surgically treated for colorectal cancer at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2007. Case notes maintained by a cancer nurse specialist were reviewed to identify postdischarge occasions-of-service where unmet need was expressed. Logistic regression was conducted to investigate predictors of unmet need.

Results: Of 521 patients, 219 (42%) patients had unmet supportive care needs, of which 50% of all needs was found in the physical domain. Twenty-six per cent of unmet needs was expressed within the first week following discharge from hospital after cancer surgery; however, 21% persisted after 6 months. Multivariate analysis indentified that in this cohort, younger age predicted the expression of an unmet need (AOR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.96-0.99). People with rectal cancer remained significantly more likely to require more than one contact with the nurse to satisfy a need (AOR, 2.80; 95% CI, 1.60-5.01) and to report a physical need (AOR, 3.56; 95% CI, 2.03-6.27).

Conclusion: This study has shown that auditing the interactions of a cancer nurse with patients can provide information about unmet supportive care needs, which can be used to develop relevant supportive care services or interventions for people with colorectal cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare / standards*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Dyspnea / therapy
  • Episode of Care
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nausea / therapy
  • Nursing Audit*
  • Pain Management / standards
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Rectal Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors