The Ontario Cancer Symptom Management Collaborative involves all Regional Cancer Programs in promoting earlier identification,
documentation and communication of patients’ symptoms. This improvement initiative leads to better symptom management and collaborative care planning, which improves the patient experience across the cancer journey, aligning with the fourth goal of the Ontario Cancer Plan.
Video: Allowing the Patient’s Voice to Help Guide their Care
Patients, family members and cancer experts explain how the use of symptom management tools can give them a voice in the cancer journey.
View videos by clinical program
View the full interviews with Ontario's cancer experts.
- Symptom Management at a Regional Cancer Centre
Dr. Bill Evans, President, Juravinski Cancer Centre and RVP for Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program
- Symptom Management in Systemic Treatment
Dr. Monika Kryzanowski, Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, and Clinical Lead, Quality Care & Access, Systemic Treatment Program, Cancer Care Ontario
- Symptom Management in Surgical Oncology
Dr. Andy Smith, Chief, Odette Cancer Centre, and RVP for Toronto Central, and
Dr. Calvin Law, Head, Surgical Oncology, Odette Cancer Centre
- Symptom Management in Radiation Treatment
Dr. Tom McGowan, Chief of Radiation Oncology, The Carlo Fidani Peel Regional Cancer Centre
Provincial improvement aims guide work across province
As part of the collaborative, provincial improvement aims are targets that guide the work of the regional cancer centres in symptom screening, assessment and control; assessment of a patient’s ability to manage daily routines; and coordinated care.
For 2013-2014, the provincial aims are to screen for severity of symptoms in 70% of all patients who visit regional cancer centres. The Cancer System Quality Index shows progress against the 2013 targets and the patient satisfaction survey.
Common tools promote common language across care settings
A set of common tools is being implemented in each region to promote a common language among patients and providers and across care settings.
Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS)
This validated symptom screening tool asks patients to rate the severity of nine common cancer symptoms such as pain, nausea and anxiety. A moderate to high score prompts clinicians to further assess the patient. Clinicians are also provided with a symptom management tool to guide decisions, leading to the best possible symptom control for patients. According to a 2012 satisfaction survey of 3,320 patients across 14 regional cancer centres, 93% of respondents thought ESAS was an important tool for letting providers know how they feel. ESAS has been translated into many languages.
Symptom Management Guides
Symptom Management Guides-to-Practice help healthcare professionals assess and appropriately manage a patient’s cancer-related symptoms.
Interactive Symptom Assessment and Collection (ISAAC)
ISAAC is an easy to use web-based tool that allows patients to report their symptoms using ESAS. ISAAC allows symptoms to be tracked over time and across care providers.
ISAAC is currently being used at regional cancer centres and some partner hospitals. CCO is supporting regions to make ISAAC available to more cancer providers.
Functional Assessment and Collaborative Care Plans
Health professionals assess how well a patient can walk, work, eat and care for themselves using the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS). Patients themselves are also able to rate their functional status using the Patient Reported Functional Status (PRFS) assessment tool. These tools help to guide care planning for patients using generic Collaborative Care Plans.