Collaborative Platform 3: Increasing service capacity to address patient needs through innovative shared-care models

Collaborative Platform 3: Increasing service capacity to address patient needs through innovative shared-care models 2019-07-10T16:39:19+00:00

A Shared-Care Model for Cancer-Related Depression


August 2018 – August 2019

Shared care is a team-driven approach in which a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals provide care in a co-ordinated fashion and are empowered to work at the top of their professional training. A patient-centric model focussed on healthcare quality, accessibility and value, shared care offers potential to relieve care burden on acute hospital settings and provide affordable services for patients and their families, close to where they live.

To demonstrate the potential of shared care in the Victorian healthcare setting, this MPCCC pilot study will implement and evaluate a model for the treatment of clinical depression in cancer patients and survivors.

Clinical depression and anxiety is poorly recognised and treated in the cancer setting. International studies have determined that around 73% of cases go undetected, resulting in significant distress and reduced quality of life for patients.  

Project Overview

This project aims to improve access to supportive care services for cancer patients suffering with clinical depression, by piloting a model of shared-care that involves hospital-based oncologists and psycho-oncologists, specialty-trained community-based psychologists and General Practitioners, working together to provide a co-ordinated system of care.

The pilot will be conducted across MPCCC Partner hospitals including Cabrini Brighton, Monash Cancer Centre Moorabbin and Frankston Hospital. All cancer patients attending participating health-service day oncology and out-patient clinics are eligible to participate in the study. Treating oncologists routinely screen cancer patients using a “distress thermometer” and refer patients with symptoms of depression for further diagnosis ad consent. Expert hospital-based psychiatrists and psycho-oncologists train and supervise cohorts of community psychologists to deliver evidence based cognitive-coping models of therapy (specific to cancer patients) for clinical depression. Patients’ GPs are trained and supervised in the application of medication algorithms to support prescription of anti-depressant medication for those in need.

Patient progress is carefully measured and the project team co-ordinates communication across participating healthcare providers. In the final months of the project, evaluation will be conducted to inform further shared-care models, planning and implementation.


Participating cancer patients suffering with clinical depression will benefit from access to a co-ordinated supportive care team that enables timely, affordable, access to high-quality, cancer-specialised psychology services, close to where they live.

Hospitals will benefit from improved workforce capacity, new patient referral pathways and reduced waiting times. Community based-providers will benefit from specialist training and expanded professional networks.

Evaluation of this pilot study will contribute higher learnings for the implementation of models of shared care that could be readily applied to any healthcare initiatives involving a multidisciplinary team that is spread across hospital and community healthcare providers.

See here for details of the Project Team and Steering Committee.

For more information in relation to this project please contact Anne Loupis, at