Nurses Engaging “Quality Life” Improvement to Cancer Patients

It seems that a patient’s continuing physical and emotional welfare can be affected by a single session with a nurse during the end of treatment for cancer.

A program has been designed by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) School of Nursing and Midwifery with the aim of providing assistance to cancer survivors in managing their own physical condition as well as emotional issues.

This prototype program has revealed that participants have claimed a decreased need for continuing information and emotional assistance, as opposed to those who did not participate in this program.

Professor Patsy Yates, lead investigator, stated that there is a wide range of post-treatment outcomes that individuals might go through in both the short term and long term (potentially), which includes difficulty getting to sleep, fatigue, weight loss or weight gain, peripheral neuropathy (alterations in nerve endings which could include sensations like pain and tingling), and menopausal symptoms. Aside from these, there can also be emotional outcomes such as decreased confidence in the patient’s body and having to cope with a changed awareness of the health.

Professor Yates further stated that the main goal of this QUT study, funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing, was to build individuals’ abilities in handling these types of concerns by themselves. She said that self-managements is crucial because once treatment is done, a patient has to be monitored continuously by his GP, although the contact with the health workers will not be the same as during his treatment.

Yates went on to say that a training program has been delivered for nurses from Toowoomba Hospital and Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane who were coordinators for cancer care, so as to provide them with techniques that will educate skills in self-managements to their patients.

One group of nurses who obtained this training consulted with 32 patients to come up with plans for end-of-treatment. This was done only once. In the care plan, they concentrated on the issues and outcomes that each patient underwent, and produced certain methods to handle each of these. The nurses can also be reached for follow up calls, should there be a need.

On the other hand, the second group, which was composed of 35 patients, did not acquire this intervention.

The result that the group discovered was 64% of the patients who got the intervention did not require further details about how to cope with the results they were going through, as opposed to only 45% in the second group who felt no further details were required, according to Yates. Aside from that, a lower percentage of the patient from the first group felt they required emotional assistance from others. 34% from the first group claimed a lower need for emotional support, where only 7% from the second group claimed an increased need for support.

Soon, an online educational course created by the QUT research team will be available to every nurse at http://www.cancerlearning.gov.au.

Image courtesy of news.xin.msn.com

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

What Do You Think?