Survivorship Care Plans: Necessary But Not Sufficient?

Deborah K. Mayer

survivor care plans, distress
CJON 2014, 18(1), 7-8. DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.S1.7-8

The Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) report From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition (Hewitt, Greenfield, & Stovall, 2006) was a seminal event for survivorship care, drawing attention to the myriad issues survivors face once treatment ends. The report included 10 recommendations, and one of them focused on survivorship care plans (SCPs), which include a treatment summary and follow-up care plan (IOM, 2005). This was a consensus-based recommendation to facilitate coordination of cancer care between specialists and primary care providers, an essential component of survivorship care (IOM, 2005). Since then, the implementation of this recommendation has been sporadic at best, being adopted by some practices and providers for some patients some of the time (Birken, Mayer, & Weiner, 2013; Forsythe et al., 2013). Reasons for poor adoption have included the length of time it takes to complete SCPs, lack of systems to make the process easier, and lack of reimbursement.

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    Birken, S. A., Mayer, D. K., & Weiner, B. J. (2013). Survivorship care plans: Prevalence and barriers to use. Journal of Cancer Education, 28, 290-296.
    Commission on Cancer. (2012). Cancer program standards 2012, version 1.2: Ensuring patient-centered care. Retrieved from
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    Institute of Medicine. (2005). Cancer survivorship care planning fact sheet. Retrieved from
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