Coleman Foundation Grants $2 Million to Support Patient-Centered Cancer and Supportive Care Approach

This year alone, an estimated 1,735,350 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and more than 600,000 will die from the disease. Of those receiving a diagnosis, almost none of them receives a truly comprehensive care plan. Patients and families often must coordinate and manage their care, hoping they have the right information to schedule the right care at the right time so as not to negatively affect their health outcome.

The Coleman Foundation understands there is a better way to support patients and improve their cancer care. The Chicago-based foundation recently awarded more than $2 million to seven Chicagoland hospitals to address what the Institute of Medicine calls “the crisis of cancer care”.

“Cancer care currently suffers from fragmentation and lack of coordination across provider specialties and clinical domains,” said Michael Hennessy, President of The Coleman Foundation. “Left to their own devices, patients and their caregivers try their best to navigate a system that is foreign to them and to schedule treatments in a timely fashion while avoiding unnecessary treatments and costs.”

What if a comprehensive care plan is created with input from the patient that includes their care across specialties and provides them with a roadmap, and with support to make sure they understand it?  Through its innovative grantmaking, The Coleman Foundation is funding an approach designed to support programs that are practical, financially sustainable and results-oriented.

Termed 4R Patient Care Sequences – the right information and right care for the right patient at the right time – this approach was developed by Christine Weldon, MBA, and Julia Trosman, PhD, of Center for Business Models in Healthcare and Northwestern University. 4R is a patient-centered care approach that emphasizes upfront care planning, which guides the patient and care team through the cancer care continuum. It provides a patient with the information they need to help manage, sequence and schedule critical tasks with the support of an informed oncology team.

The Coleman Foundation 4R grants complement the work of the Coleman Supportive Oncology Collaborative which engaged 135 professionals from 25 Chicago-area cancer care organizations to create and implement new screening tools, resources and procedures to connect patients to support services when they need them. Whereas the Supportive Oncology Collaborative is focused on helping healthcare providers gain the tools and education needed to provide supportive care, the 4R grants are designed around the patient’s needs and integrating the oncology care team around them 4R grants were provided to the following health care institutions:

  • • Northwestern University
  • • University of Chicago Medicine
  • • University of Illinois Hospital and Health System
  • • Rush University Medical Center
  • • Lake Forest Hospital
  • • Advocate Sherman Hospital/ Good Samaritan Hospital
  • • NorthShore University HealthSystem

The 25-month effort will involve two cancer types at each institution, with Weldon and Trosman working with each oncology team on a one-to-one basis. As each healthcare institution is different, each cancer type requires different care pathways, and each patient has unique circumstances, the 4R documents will be designed with each institution and customized for each cancer type. For example, breast cancer has eight unique care sequences whereas colon cancer may have 12 and rectal cancer even more.

“By customizing the 4R documents to each institution and type of cancer to align with clinical practices, flows and structures, the care plans become that much more useful and beneficial for both patients and clinicians,” said Weldon. “We will form design teams across institutions and convene all  4R providers (approximately 130) to share knowledge, experiences and tools. Consistent with The Coleman Foundation approach, we will share what we learn broadly to improve care for cancer patients everywhere. ”

In addition to the 4R Patient Care Sequence, The Coleman Foundation funds three concurrent Chicago-area cancer care initiatives that follow their model: funding clinics within multiple institutions; convening practitioners to collaborate and share experiences; creating tools, resources and practice models; and sharing learning to improve cancer care everywhere. These initiatives include Supportive Oncology Collaboratives for Adults and for Children with Cancer (10 children’s hospitals), and Coleman Palliative Medicine Training Program, a collaborative program training 200 professionals across 35 local institutions to address the shortage of medical providers trained in palliative medicine. The Coleman Foundation, which was established in 1951 by the original owners of Fannie May Candies, also supports programs for people with developmental disabilities and entrepreneurship education programs.