Adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology patients often find that they are misfits within a healthcare system designed to serve the needs of older adults and children. As a result, they report multiple unmet needs during their cancer journeys including the need for information, practical support, social/peer support, and mental health services. Their relatively poor health outcomes reflect gaps in care from time of diagnosis through treatment. Efforts to improve care for AYA patients encounter challenges arising from the disbursement of AYA patients across multiple treatment sites, inadequate education about adolescent health and development, and limited resources available to patients in this age group.
This workshop will review a model of care for AYA patients and provide useful information for hematology/oncology nurses working with AYAs or seeking to develop AYA programs.
We will present the following:
- an overview of AYA care needs
- the history of an AYA program within a pediatric hospital and an innovative community-based coalition partnering with nearby adult oncology centers
- AYA-specific programming provided within our pediatric and community settings
- common challenges and possible solutions during development and execution phases
- an explanation of how AYA programs/programming can be formalized across settings with varying levels of resources.
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