The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) has developed a position paper that addresses quality cancer care. The position statement was developed in response to the cost-reduction emphasis in health-care restructuring that is threatening the delivery of quality cancer care.
The Society is concerned that a primary focus on cost by payors and delivery systems signals an onerous intention to limit access to essential components of cancer care. Examples of these trends include payors restricting access to specialty oncology care, payors imposing limitations on selection of treatment options and access to supportive care services, registered nurses being encouraged to generalize rather than to specialize in oncology, specialized oncology units being dissolved or combined with non-specialty units, and chemotherapy drugs being administered either by nurses lacking oncology knowledge and chemotherapy competencies or by lesser-skilled assistive personnel.
The Society believes that the oncology registered nurse's role in the multidisciplinary team is pivotal in creating an environment conducive to quality patient care. Therefore, it is the position of ONS that:
- quality cancer care is a right of all citizens;
- quality cancer care entails timely access to and reimbursement for a coordinated, comprehensive approach to care provided by a multidisciplinary team throughout the cancer trajectory that includes prevention, early detection, treatment, supportive care, long-term follow-up, and end-of-life care;
- quality cancer care is culturally competent, ethical. and cost-effective;
- quality cancer care incorporates the individual with cancer (and the family) as fully informed partners and decision-makers;
- quality cancer care is coordinated and delivered by competent cancer care providers
- accountability and coordination of quality cancer care is best accomplished by registered nurses who have been educated and certified in the oncology specialty;
- oncology advanced practice nurses should be utilized in all cancer care delivery systems;
- oncology nursing must be included, with equal parity to that of medicine and other disciplines, in the planning and implementation of cancer care services.
The price of the position paper is $2, which covers the cost of postage and handling. To order a copy of the position paper, contact the ONS Customer Service Department at 501 Holiday Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, or call 412-921-7373.