Using integrated knowledge translation methods to develop a framework to facilitate gynecological cancer survivor preparedness to transition out of treatment
What? The aim of this project is to develop a framework to facilitate preparedness among gynecological cancer (GC) survivors and their informal caregivers (IC) (e.g., partners) residing in small urban or rural communities who are completing cancer treatment. To do this, we have used results from our scoping review to draft a framework that aims to support GC survivors and their ICs to prepare for the transition from primary cancer treatment and into surveillance or follow-up care. We will engage with GC survivors and their ICs to solicit feedback and revisions to the draft framework that will be incorporated into a final framework. Subsequent projects will involve sharing the final framework with stakeholders (e.g., clinician, decision-maker) to identify barriers and facilitators to inform the implementation of the framework.
Why? In our former research, ovarian cancer survivors at the Cancer Centre of South Eastern Ontario reported unmet post-treatment follow-up expectations, felt unprepared for post-treatment effects, and reported unique challenges to living in rural and small urban areas. Indeed, (GC) survivors are one group that experiences significant levels of distress and a variety of unmet psychosocial needs at the end of cancer treatment. Given that practice standards and guidelines provide little-to-no guidance on GC specific post-treatment psychosocial care indicates that further work is needed in this regard.
How? This project uses a four-phased, Knowledge-to-Action research approach.
- Phase 1: Using a scoping review to identify the needs of GC survivors, we developed a draft framework. We also identified evidence-informed programs, resources, and models of care that could be used to meet these needs.
- Phase 2: A steering committee of knowledge users (e.g. GC survivors and their ICs) and stakeholders (e.g. clinicians, policy makers) will be convened to inform Phase 3.
- Phase 3: Purposively sampled focus groups of GC survivors and ICs will provide feedback to the draft framework’s content and suitability.
- Phase 4: Phase 3 results will inform a final framework that will be disseminated via traditional publications and clinician rounds and debriefs.
Impact of findings: This project will illuminate transition preparedness elements necessary for GC survivors and their ICs who are transitioning from primary cancer treatment into surveillance or follow-up care. Clinicians and researchers can use these results as a template for other unique disease transition programs. This framework will be shared with key stakeholders in the cancer care system (e.g. administrators, clinicians, etc.) in order to understand the barriers and facilitators to implement the framework into practice.