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Geriatric Oncology: Cognition and Communication

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Geriatric Oncology Cognition and Communication Project Summary An important public challenge is how we address the multi-layer complexities associated with individuals who have a cancer diagnosis and cognitive impairment and/or functional deficits. Many organizations including the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Institute of Medicine have recognized the need for more research and education about the diagnosis and management of geriatric syndromes in patients with cancer as many healthcare providers (HCPs) are unprepared. The proposed Geriatric Oncology Cognition and Communication (Geri Onc CC) training program is designed to train oncologists, primary care providers, and other HCPs (nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists) to screen for and conduct an initial assessment to identify cognitive impairment and/or functional decline in the older cancer patient, to learn about factors to consider when treating older cancer patients, and to improve communication with the patient and his/her caregiver. Two hundred fifty-two HCPs working with older oncology patients will participate in the interactive, multi-modal two-day in person program with ongoing professional development over a 12-month period. Training will occur in 14 cohorts over the 5-year project. We will examine knowledge, attitudes and uptake and use of skills before and up to 12 months after the training. The overarching goal of this cancer educational program is to prepare the workforce to care for this growing, vulnerable, aging population.
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