John Libbey Eurotext

Bulletin du Cancer


Coordinated organization of symptoms management and support in all the stages of cancer disease: putting in place pluridisciplinary structures of supportive oncological care Volume 88, issue 3, Mars 2001


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Unité douleur-soins oncologiques de support, centre régional de lutte contre le cancer Alexis-Vautrin, 54511 Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex.

The organization of the management of pain and other symptoms all along the cancer disease, of psychological support and palliative care is a complex question that does not correspond to any perfectly established model, both in France and abroad. Different structures are implied in there care and coexist with an insufficient coordination: cancerology structures, structures of chronic pain management, structures of psycho-oncology, structures of palliative care. Some other assistances are more or less isolated inside the hospital: nutritional support, social assistance, action against tobacco and other addictions, volunteer work... Because of the evolution of practices and mentalities over the last ten years, the highlights of evident interfaces and complementary activities, the notions of "continuous care" and "integrated care" inside conventional departments, the budgetary and organizational restraints, it is now possible to propose a model of hospital structure adapted to the problem of supportive care. The creation is proposed from preexisting structures, consultations, units, departments of supportive oncological care according to the size of the institution. The structure should comply with some specifications, sometimes regulations, and to coordinate at best different competencies in the interest of the patients and medical teams : pain and symptoms management (of which palliative care is an important part), psycho-oncology, rehabilitation (functional rehabilitation, nutrition, social work, fights against addictions). A pooling of technology settings is one of its interest. The model can be applied in other domains than cancerology and in most health institutions.