Promoting an improved patient experience in gynaecological cancer care

Project Details

Gynaecological cancer has been described as a 'psychosocial diagnosis' due to its detrimental effect on the lives of patients and their families. It has been identified that this patient group has high psychosocial needs in addition to their treatment needs. Areas of psychosocial need which have been identified in the literature include: sexuality and relationship concerns; relationship issues; quality of Life (QOL); mental health; social support; and decision-making.

A Cancer Services Framework for Victoria (2003) and Victoria's Cancer Action Plan 2008-2011 (VCAP) have guided the direction of cancer services across Victoria. Supportive care is central to the Framework and supportive care screening has increased from a 2008 baseline of <5% to 31% in 2012. There is growing evidence that screening can be a useful tool to assess and provide for the supportive care needs of patients with cancer.

There has been increasing recognition of the role nurses, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists play in assisting patients to identify and address psychosocial needs, there are few evidence-informed practice guidelines for delivering psychosocial interventions with this patient population.

Recent studies undertaken at Peter Mac and The Royal Women's Hospital (RWH) have recognised the importance of both screening and responding with appropriate referral and intervention to the multiple stresses experienced by women receiving treatment for gynaecological cancer.

Using a quasi-RCT research design, the proposed study will examine the impact of the supportive care screening and single follow up interview on patients being treated at the RWH. An 'enhanced model of supportive care screening' (incorporating a single supportive care intervention and literacy package) will be provided to women with gynaecological cancer (intervention group N=65) who will be compared with those women receiving 'usual care' (control group N=65). It is hypothesised that the women receiving the intervention will return higher positive patient experience scores (Patient Responses: an Ongoing Survey of People Experiencing Cancer Treatment) and significantly improved scores on the SF36 when compared with the control group.

The project will provide evidence about the effectiveness of a single supportive care intervention delivered by front line staff as part of routine supportive care screening in relation to the patient's quality of life, distress and treatment experience. The study will also audit the process of the patient treatment pathway and review modifiable and non-modifiable factors in the patient commencing, remaining in, and completing treatment and describe any complexities arising from this process.


  • Assoc Professor Lynette Joubert, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Orla McNally, Royal Women's Hospital
  • Professor Fiona Judd, Royal Women's Hospital
  • Dr Lesley Stafford, Royal Women's Hospital
  • Penelope Vye, Royal Women's Hospital
  • Danielle Carpenter, Royal Women's Hospital


Royal Women's Hospital


Department of Health

Research Group

Practice Research Program in Health and Mental Health

School Research Themes


Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Social Work

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.