UK Paediatric and Young Adult Care Quality Recommendations Revealed

New cancer care quality standards published for UK children and young adults

medwireNews: The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued seven new quality standards that aim to improve the care of children, teenagers and young adults with cancer.

The statements, which are directed at healthcare professionals, as well as social and healthcare commissioners and service providers, cover the diagnosis, treatment and care of children aged 0 to 15 years and young people aged 16 to 24 years.

The guidelines include the recommendation that children and young people be given chemotherapy through an electronic prescribing system, to reduce the risk of prescribing errors, and be given the opportunity to take part in clinical trials where appropriate.

“Treating children in clinical trials ensures consistent excellence in care, and means we can learn from every child's experience to improve treatment for others,” commented Professor Alan Ashworth, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, in a press release.

“We need to address the regulatory and financial barriers that exist to running paediatric cancer trials, to ensure that as many children as possible benefit from them,” he added.

The guidance also recommends that young people be cared for by two multidisciplinary teams specialising in the cancer site and in the care of teenagers and young adults, while children with central nervous system malignancy should receive specialist neuro-rehabilitation care.

In addition, the statements recommend assessing patients’ psychological, social care, and fertility preservation requirements and providing such care based on the patient’s needs.

Finally, the guidance states that all children and young adults should receive an end-of-care plan including arrangements for follow-up and monitoring.

Gillian Leng, the Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, summarised the guidance in a press statement: “The NICE recommendations – published together as a 'quality standard' – aim to co-ordinate services and raise standards in key areas so that children and young people, and their families and carers, receive excellent care wherever they live.”

Reference

NICE Quality Standards - QS55 Children and young people with cancer. The page visited 3 March 2014.

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