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New Standards And Implications For Improving The Quality Of Supportive Oncology Practice

Betty Ferrell, Judith Paice, Marianna Koczywas

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The purpose of this article is to review current guidelines and national initiatives to improve the quality of supportive oncology care. Review of the literature in this area has documented important advances in supportive oncology. This article focuses on work by the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care and the National Quality Forum. The mandate to improve the quality of care in oncology has been the focus of several national reports, including those by the Institute of Medicine addressing end-of-life care in cancer and cancer survivorship. Patients with cancer face significant needs for support in areas such as pain and symptom management and psychosocial and spiritual support, as well as diverse quality-of-life concerns. These reports recommending changes in practice have been reinforced by clinical practice guidelines developed by the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care and preferred practices defined by the National Quality Forum. This article applies these national mandates and guidelines to the field of supportive care in oncology. Improving the quality of supportive oncology will require commitment by oncology professionals in areas of education, clinical practice, and research.