Nova Scotia cancer patients report high quality of care

HALIFAX, N.S. - Survey results released Wednesday by Nova Scotia Health Authority show that 98.8 per cent of Nova Scotia cancer patients are highly satisfied with their cancer care, rating their overall quality of care as excellent, very good or good. This compares with the Canadian average of 98 per cent, which is a statistically significant difference.
The survey, which was a random sample of all patients within a three-month period, also shows that 99.6 per cent of respondents who received care through the Cape Breton Cancer Centre in Sydney or its affiliated chemotherapy clinics reported high levels of satisfaction with their overall care as did 98.6 per cent of respondents seen through the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre in Halifax.
“These survey results speak to our dedicated teams of cancer health professionals across the province,” said Dr. Drew Bethune, Medical Director, Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program. “We’re pleased that our patient satisfaction scores continue to be the highest among the provinces surveyed and we salute and thank our teams who routinely go above and beyond to ease the journey for our patients and families.”
Nova Scotia patients rated their experience higher than the Canadian average in categories including: information, education, communication; respect for patient preferences; emotional support; physical comfort; coordination and integration of care. 
In addition, there are six areas where the responses over the last four surveys have been consistently above 90 per cent. These include: quality of care, opportunities for family and friend involvement in care, being treated with dignity and respect, recommending health care providers to family and friends and the degree of trust patients have in sharing confidential information with care providers.
Areas for improvement include: emotional support, including providing information about possible emotional changes and sexual changes as a result of treatment and patients’ level of comfort in discussing complementary or alternative therapies with providers.
“Measuring patient satisfaction regularly is one way of identifying the aspects of our cancer programs and services that are working well, and others that need more focus,” said Erika Nicholson, Senior Director, Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program. “It is reassuring to hear from patients that we are doing well in many areas, but there are parts of the system that need more work. Our next step is to work with teams and patient advisors across the province to identify priority areas and develop an action plan.”
The Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program is part of Nova Scotia Health Authority and is responsible for cancer programs and services across the province including: cancer prevention and early detection, treatment, follow-up, supportive care, palliative care and end-of-life care. The Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program collaborates with the IWK Health Centre to support the delivery of cancer services to pediatric and young adult patients, and breast health services including screening.
Media contact: Christine Smith
Nova Scotia Health Authority