Implementation of a Multidisciplinary Allied Health Optimisation Clinic for Cancer Patients with Complex Needs

J Clin Med. 2020 Jul 30;9(8):2431. doi: 10.3390/jcm9082431.


This study examined the feasibility of implementing a multidisciplinary allied health model of care (MOC) for cancer patients with complex needs. The MOC in this retrospective study provided up to eight weeks of nutritional counselling, exercise prescription, fatigue management and psychological support. Implementation outcomes (acceptability, adoption, fidelity and appropriateness) were evaluated using nine patient interviews, and operational data and medical records of 185 patients referred between August 2017 and December 2018. Adoption, including intention to try and uptake, were acceptable: 88% of referred patients agreed to screening and 71% of eligible patients agreed to clinic participation. Fidelity was mixed, secondary to inpatient admissions and disease progression interrupting patient participation. Clinician compliance with outcome assessment was variable at program commencement (dietetic, 95%; physiotherapy, 91%; occupational therapy, 33%; quality of life, 23%) and low at program completion (dietetic, 32%; physiotherapy, 13%; occupational therapy, 10%; quality of life, 11%) mainly due to non-attendance. Patient interviews revealed high satisfaction and perceived appropriateness. Adoption of the optimisation clinic was acceptable. Interview responses suggest patients feel the clinic is both acceptable and appropriate. This indicates a multidisciplinary model is an important aspect of comprehensive, timely and effective care. However, fidelity was low, secondary to the complexities of the patient cohort.

Keywords: allied health; cancer patients; complex needs; implementation; model of care; multidisciplinary; rehabilitation.