What is multidisciplinary care?
Multidisciplinary care describes an integrated approach to patient care, where medical and allied health professionals work collaboratively to develop and deliver personalised treatment and care plans for each patient. The multidisciplinary team works together to consider all relevant treatment options and make joint treatment and care decisions in line with the patient’s personal preferences.1
How do multidisciplinary teams improve patient care?
Multidisciplinary care is considered best clinical practice for patients with cancer. When healthcare professionals work as part of a multidisciplinary team, they can help improve timely delivery of guideline-driven medical care and psychosocial support – which can help improve both patient outcomes and their satisfaction with care. Multidisciplinary care can also benefit the healthcare providers by helping to improve co-ordination of patient care and streamlining treatment pathways.1
Who is part of the multidisciplinary team?
Members of a multidisciplinary care team will vary from patient to patient to meet the needs of the patient and the type of cancer being treated. The team should include healthcare professionals that provide both clinical care and psychosocial support, and will always include the patient’s general practitioner. The core team for most cancer patients typically consists of medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, oncology nursing specialists, radiologists, pathologists, and general practitioners. Depending on the patient’s needs, the extended multidisciplinary care team may also involve clinical specialists, genetic counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, dieticians, palliative care specialists, and pharmacists, among others.1