Barriers and facilitators to community-based psycho-oncology services: A qualitative study of health professionals’ attitudes to the feasibility and acceptability of a shared care model

Lisa Vaccaro, Joanne Shaw, Suvena Sethi, Laura Kirsten, Lisa Beatty, Geoffrey Mitchell, David Kissane, Brian Kelly, Jane Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Psychological therapies combined with medication are effective treatments for depression and anxiety in patients with cancer. However, the psycho-oncology workforce is insufficient to meet patient need and is hard to access outside of the major cities. To bridge this gap, innovative models of care are required. Implementation of a new model of care requires attention to the facilitators and barriers. The aim of this study was to explore stakeholders’ attitudes to the feasibility and acceptability of a community-based, shared care model for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with community-based clinical psychologists (n = 10), general practitioners (n = 6), and hospital-based psychologists working in psycho-oncology (n = 9). Framework analysis was conducted to identify key themes. Results: All stakeholders perceived the model as feasible and acceptable. Potential barriers/facilitators to implementation were summarised under six key themes: (a) initiative, ownership, and autonomy; (b) resources; (c) pathway establishment; (d) support; (e) skill acquisition; and (f) patient engagement. Facilitators included quality communication between health professionals across primary and tertiary care and appropriate education and support for community-based clinicians. Conclusions: This in-depth exploration of Australian health professionals’ perceptions of the feasibility and acceptability of a community-based model of psycho-oncology care revealed that most clinicians were willing to adopt the proposed changes into practice. An RCT of a shared care intervention for depressed patients with cancer is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1862-1870
Number of pages9
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • cognitive behaviour therapy
  • collaborative care
  • depression
  • health professionals
  • oncology
  • psycho-oncology
  • qualitative interviews
  • shared care

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