ONS Develops Position Paper Addressing Quality Cancer Care

September 1, 1997
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 11 No 9, Volume 11, Issue 9

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) has developed a position paper that addresses quality cancer care. The position

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) has developed a position paper thataddresses quality cancer care. The position statement was developed inresponse to the cost-reduction emphasis in health-care restructuring thatis threatening the delivery of quality cancer care.

The Society is concerned that a primary focus on cost by payors anddelivery systems signals an onerous intention to limit access to essentialcomponents of cancer care. Examples of these trends include payors restrictingaccess to specialty oncology care, payors imposing limitations on selectionof treatment options and access to supportive care services, registerednurses being encouraged to generalize rather than to specialize in oncology,specialized oncology units being dissolved or combined with non-specialtyunits, and chemotherapy drugs being administered either by nurses lackingoncology knowledge and chemotherapy competencies or by lesser-skilled assistivepersonnel.

The Society believes that the oncology registered nurse's role in themultidisciplinary team is pivotal in creating an environment conduciveto 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 fora coordinated, comprehensive approach to care provided by a multidisciplinaryteam 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 thefamily) as fully informed partners and decision-makers;
  • quality cancer care is coordinated and delivered by competent cancercare providers
  • accountability and coordination of quality cancer care is best accomplishedby registered nurses who have been educated and certified in the oncologyspecialty;
  • oncology advanced practice nurses should be utilized in all cancercare delivery systems;
  • oncology nursing must be included, with equal parity to that of medicineand other disciplines, in the planning and implementation of cancer careservices.

The price of the position paper is $2, which covers the cost of postageand handling. To order a copy of the position paper, contact the ONS CustomerService Department at 501 Holiday Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, or call412-921-7373.

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