Another Piece
Of the Jigsaw

Supportive Care

Supportive care in cancer is an umbrella term used to describe services that may be required by those affected by cancer. It includes self-help and support, information, psychological support, symptom control, social support, rehabilitation, spiritual support, palliative care and bereavement care. Supportive care in cancer refers to the following five domains:

physical needs

psychological needs

social needs

information needs

spiritual needs.

All members of the multidisciplinary team have a role in providing supportive care. In addition, support from family, friends, support groups, volunteers and other community-based organisations make an important contribution to supportive care.

Benefits provided by Supportive Care for those affected by cancer include:

• A positive impact on experiences of patients by reducing levels of anxiety and depression, better managing physical symptoms and increasing patient knowledge of the disease and treatment;
• Improved medical outcomes through better adherence to treatment including faster recovery, fewer post-hospital complications, enhanced self-care and greater ability to cope with difficult treatments; and
• Enhanced decision-making, active participation and care and improved patient satisfaction with care.

Source: Department of Health, Victoria (2009): Providing optimal cancer care. Supportive care policy for Victoria.