|Authors||Wiederholt PA, Connor NP, Hartig GK, Harari PM|
|Journal||Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. Volume: 69 Issue: 2 Suppl Pages: S88-91|
Patients with advanced head and neck cancer face not only a life-threatening malignancy, but also a remarkably complex treatment regimen that can affect their cosmetic appearance and ability to speak, breathe, and swallow. These patients benefit from the coordinated interaction of a multidisciplinary team of specialists and a comprehensive plan of care to address their physical and psychosocial concerns, manage treatment-related toxicities, and prevent or limit long-term morbidities affecting health-related quality of life. Although little has been published on patient-provider communication with a multidisciplinary team, evidence has suggested that gaps often occur in communication between patients and providers, as well as between specialists. These communication gaps can hinder the multidisciplinary group from working toward common patient-centered goals in a coordinated “interdisciplinary” manner. We discuss the role of a head-and-neck oncology nurse coordinator at a single institution in bridging gaps across the continuum of care, promoting an interdisciplinary team approach, and enhancing the overall quality of patient-centered head-and-neck cancer care.