The South East region’s commitment to patient-centred care helped put the region in a top spot for patient experience.
The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) is an important tool used across the province to help assess a patient’s symptoms at every visit. The tool asks patients to rate the severity of nine common symptoms on a simple scale. The results help the cancer care team manage symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life.
“The cancer journey can be challenging,” said Brenda Carter, Regional Vice-President of the South East Regional Cancer Program. “Symptoms like fatigue, pain and anxiety really take a toll on patients. The ESAS tool is critical in charting a patient’s journey, and ensuring their care team can address symptoms quickly and effectively.”
In January, 3,199 patients from the 14 regional cancer centres took the Symptom Management Patient Experience Survey. The survey looked at various indicators that assessed cancer care teams’ response to a patient’s symptoms, both physical and emotional. It also measured the percentage of patients who report that their health-care team always treats or manages their physical symptoms.
Of the 14 regions in the province, the South East ranked the highest.
“We are very pleased by the outcome of the survey,” added Brenda. “Patient experience and satisfaction are a big regional focus. The results show that ESAS has a real benefit to patients’ quality of life. Our goal is to increase the use of the tool across the South East region.”
The majority of patients surveyed said their ESAS scores were discussed with their health-care team. They also felt that their physical symptoms were managed, their worries, concerns and feelings of sadness were addressed, and that they were involved in discussions of how to treat and manage their symptoms.
The findings are part of the Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI), a quality improvement tool that identifies gaps in the cancer system and drives improvement through regional, provincial, national and international benchmarking.