Telephone Guidelines

Telephone Symptom Support

Management of cancer treatment-related symptoms is an important safety issue. Most cancer programs provide telephone access for symptom management by nurses. Higher quality telephone services use symptom protocols, document calls, provide training, and monitor service quality.

The Pan-Canadian Oncology Symptom Triage and Remote Support (COSTaRS) Group created 15 user-friendly practice guides for telephone support based on clinical practice guidelines using a rigorous process. These practice guides can be used to guide clinical practice and may also be used for documenting calls.

Download the practice guides in English, please click here. To download in French, please click here.

Training materials for learning how to use the COSTaRS practice guides were developed based on findings from an environmental scan of telephone-based training programs for oncology nurses in Canada. These training materials were evaluated in actual training sessions for nurses in three provinces.

Download the training module in English here. Download in French here.

The COSTaRS Group is a collaboration of researchers, information systems specialists, methodologists, library scientists, advance practice nurses and nurse leaders assembled in 2008. Led by D Stacey, RN, PhD CON(C), the COSTaRS group includes stakeholders from 8 Canadian Provinces. The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (2008-2011) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2012-2014), and Canadian Cancer Society (2015-2017) funded the COSTaRS initiative.

Current COSTaRS Committee Members: D Stacey (lead), B Ballantyne, L Butler, M Carley, K Chapman, G Cummings, E Green, D Howell, L Jolicoeur, C Kuziemsky, G Macartney, K Nichol, A Ross-White, B Sabo, M Skrutkowski, A Syme, J Tarasuk, L Tardif, C Tayler, T Truant.

For more information on the COSTaRS initiative, visit

Last updated: November 10, 2017

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