Advance care planning within survivorship care plans for older cancer survivors: A systematic review
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Advances in the medical treatment of cancer have increased the number of survivors, particularly among older adults, who now represent the majority of these. Survivorship care plans (SCPs) are documents that cancer patients receive summarising their care, usually at the end of treatment but preferably from initial diagnosis. These may increase patient satisfaction and represent an opportunity to initiate preventative strategies and address future care needs. Advance care planning (ACP), incorporating advance healthcare decision-making, including formal written directives, increases satisfaction and end-of-life care. This paper systematically reviews evaluations of ACP within SCPs among older (≥65 years) cancer survivors. No studies meeting the inclusion criteria were identified by search strategies conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE and the Cochrane databases. One paper examined cancer survivors' mainly positive views of ACP. Another discussed the use of a SCP supported by a 'distress inventory' that included an advance care directive (living will) as an issue, though no formal evaluation was reported. Although ACP is important for older adults, no study was found that evaluated its role within survivorship care planning. Despite the risk of recurrence and the potential for morbidity and mortality, especially among older cancer survivors, ACP is not yet a feature of SCPs.
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