Multidisciplinary care has been described as 'an integrated team approach to health care in which medical and allied health care professionals consider all relevant treatment options and develop collaboratively an individual treatment plan for the person affected by cancer'.13
People affected by cancer (including health care teams and services) can benefit from a multidisciplinary approach in the following ways:13
- Treatment planning is improved through consideration of full therapeutic range, and as a result survival benefit has been reported.
- Emotional needs of individuals are recognised.
- Less service duplication, improved coordination of services and development of clear lines of responsibility between members of the MDT.
- Shared decision making in the MDT is more likely to result in recommendations that align with best practice and evidence based care.
- Reduction in minor psychological morbidity of team members.
- Learning and educational opportunities for team members.
- Improved MDT communication.
- Understanding and adherence to agreed treatment and care plan with knowledge of the investigations and results.
The principle objectives of a multidisciplinary meeting in the context of treatment planning are:14
- to provide an opportunity for multidisciplinary discussion of all newly diagnosed people, and to review cases of cancer within an appropriate timeframe to facilitate effective treatment planning
- to determine, in light of all available information and with reference to the evidence base, the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual
- to provide educational opportunities for team members and trainees.
It is important for teams to establish a process for communicating case discussion outcomes and recommendations to the person and their General Practitioner. The treatment and care plan should be formal, in writing, and consider the full range of treatment and care options available to the patient, while taking into account the patient’s preferences.15
Where possible, written care plans should be made available to the person with cancer. In addition, the persons’ access to a second opinion outside the initial team should be respected and facilitated.15
Re-evaluating treatment and care plans should be done at critical points during the course of disease including diagnosis, change in treatment, recurrence, or at the end of active treatment. Treatment and care plans should be reviewed regularly because many changes will occur during the course of the person’s disease. Any changes made to the person’s treatment plan should be discussed with them and documented.15
Describe the role of the SCN in multidisciplinary treatment planning.
Describe the role of the general practitioner in multidisciplinary treatment planning.
Describe the role of the person affected by cancer in multidisciplinary treatment planning.
Access the Cancer Australia Multidisciplinary Care resource.15 Complete the following:
- What are key steps which assist the MDT in effective decision making when developing the treatment plan?
- Discuss strategies which may enhance multidisciplinary approaches to treatment planning.
Describe how you would explain the MDT's role in planning treatments for an individual recently diagnosed with cancer.