Mapping the clinical care pathways for advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer patients in Victoria: A retrospective cohort study of supportive and palliative care

Shantelle Smith, Daniel Sapkaroski, Margaret Brand, Anh Tran, John Zalcberg, Robert G. Stirling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The lung cancer Optimal Care Pathway recommends supportive care and palliative care integration throughout its various steps, with early referral to appropriate services improving the quality of life in advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. Using Victorian Lung Cancer Registry data and linked administrative datasets, this retrospective cohort study mapped clinical care pathways of 525 Stage III–IV non-small cell lung cancer patients in Victoria to 11 recommendations in the Optimal Care Pathway, identifying unwarranted variations in clinical care. Supportive care and palliative care delivery were further examined to understand the involvement and timing of specialist care teams. Our findings showed that palliative care utilization is highest at the time of treatment, despite recommendations that it should be provided early after diagnosis to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. Early supportive care screening was observed in half the cohort and almost three-quarters of the patients had been presented at a multidisciplinary meeting. Multidisciplinary meeting presentations and supportive care provide an opportunity to improve communication about palliative care needs and integration into routine clinical practice, such as at the time of treatment planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-423
Number of pages13
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • critical pathways
  • health care
  • lung neoplasms
  • palliative care
  • quality of health care
  • registries

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