Launch of Model of Care for Psycho-Oncology services CAYA

The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Children's Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin were delighted to launch the Model of Care for Psycho-Oncology services for patients aged 0-24 years and their families on May 17th. The primary aim of the Model of Care is to provide a blueprint for the provision of psychosocial and psychological support services for children, adolescents and young adults (CAYA) with cancer over the lifetime of the current National Cancer Strategy (2017-2026) and beyond.

Over the past decade in Ireland, there has been increasing recognition of the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis not just on the patient, but on the entire family and the wider community. This is especially true when the diagnosis occurs in children, adolescents and young adults. Each year in Ireland, around 200 children up to the age of 16, a further 69 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 19, and 111 young adults between the ages of 20 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer. Psycho-Oncology services for all 0-15 year olds willcontinue to be delivered within the National Paediatric Psycho-Oncology (NPPO) service in CHI at Crumlin, while AYA Psycho-Oncology services (for 16-24 year olds) will be delivered within the recently developed AYA Cancer Service Network, which incorporates CHI at Crumlin, Cork University Hospital, Galway University Hospital, and St James’s Hospital.


Launching the new Model of Care, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, TD, said: “The development of the Model of Care relies on several policies and initiatives over the past number of years including the National Cancer Strategy, the International Standards for paediatric psychosocial care, the Sláintecare report and the Framework for the care and support of adolescents and young adults. It represents a major step forward in both identifying the significant challenges faced by these patients and their families, as well as highlighting the main issues that will need to be addressed to provide an integrated holistic and professional service to those affected by a cancer diagnosis.”


Welcoming the publication of the Model of Care, Prof. Risteárd Ó Laoide, National Director of the NCCP, said: “The National Cancer Strategy highlighted the important role of Psycho-Oncology services for people living with cancer and their families. This Model of Care is an important step in highlighting the supports needed for children, adolescents and young adults with cancer and their families. I want to thank the broad range of stakeholders who were involved in developing the Model of Care.”

Dr Helen Greally, National Clinical Programme Lead for Psycho-Oncology, NCCP, stated: “Publishing this Model of Care is a particularly important milestone in that it outlines key aspects of psychosocial and psychological support necessary, so that the diagnosis of cancer in this age group can be managed in a way that ensures the best quality of life possible for the patient and the family.”


Dr Chiara Besani, Psycho-Oncology Clinical Lead of the National Paediatric Psycho-Oncology Service, CHI at Crumlin and co-Chair of the CAYA Psycho-Oncology Model of Care, outlined: “The launch brings to fruition the work that has been developing in paediatric Psycho-Oncology over the past decade by hospitals and charities. While cancer is recognised as a potentially traumatic life event for CAYA, we aim to minimise the psychological, neurocognitive and psycho-social aspects of a cancer diagnosis and contribute to improved long-term quality-of-life for our patients. Crucial is the recognition that every child, adolescent and young adult in Ireland should receive CAYA-centric, developmentally appropriate, and systemic care. We are looking forward, with appropriate resources, to be able to provide equal access to the best evidence-based care.”

Last updated on: 30 / 05 / 2023