The Rapid Evaluation and Symptom Management Clinical Care Unit (RESCCU)

In September, the Juravinski Cancer Centre launched a new urgent care unit called RESSCU (Rapid Evaluation and Symptom Support Unit), for patients currently undergoing cancer treatment at the centre. This new model was introduced in response to the need to improve patient access to safe, efficient and timely management of uncontrolled symptoms resulting from cancer treatments.   Many patients undergoing cancer treatment experience symptoms, that if caught early, could be managed at home or an outpatient basis, avoiding potential ED visits and hospitalization for escalating problems. Earlier symptom management reduces adverse patient events, improves patient safety, and overall better quality of care and experience for the patient and family.
The RESSCU model uses a multifaceted approach to improve quality and patient safety including strategies to improve patient access to care, to build an effective centralized interdisciplinary team, and strengthen communication processes with providers as well as patients and families. 
The patient’s nurse or doctor can refer a patient directly to RESSCU from home or clinic with a single phone call to the triage line.  By expediting the care for these patients, the goal is to reduce the escalation of symptoms experienced by patients and provide a safer trajectory during their treatment period.
Effective interdisciplinary teams are fundamental to providing safe, quality patient care. RESSCU is staffed by a team of physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses who specialize in critical care and oncology, and work together to provide evidence-based symptom management.  Coalescing team resources in one area helps to facilitate appropriate and timely clinical decisions, streamlines services and improves communication with the team and family, all which contribute to improvements in a safer environment and care for patients.
The literature strongly supports that good communication within the health care team, as well as with the patient and family, significantly improves patient safety. The RESSCU communication strategies aim to ensure the patient and family understands the treatment they needed and how to  improve their capacity for self management of their symptoms at home. Each patient discharged home receives a phone call within 24-48 hour post discharge to follow-up with symptom management and will triage to appropriate level of care if the symptoms returned. Follow-up calls are made back to the referring nurse or physician for all patients.
The vision of the RESSCU model is to provide patients with the right care, at the right time, in the right place to provide safe, quality care, in a timely and appropriate approach. For more information, please contact Denise Bryant-Lukosius at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Amanda Hurdowar at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it