You may remember Jay, a 62-year-old man with inoperable stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), from the case study in the April 2017 issue of ONS Voice. He was symptomatic with a persistent cough, unintentional weight loss, and fatigue.
Because of the risks and dangers associated with hazardous drugs, guidelines surrounding their use and handling have been issued since 1981. Since then, several organizations, including ONS (in tandem with the American Society of Clinical Oncology), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, have released guidelines for various providers who handle the drugs.
Large-volume (≥ 3 ml) intramuscular (IM) injections may not be administered often, and oncology nurses can be unfamiliar with best practices. A study found that only 32% of gluteal injections were administered into the desired IM target. This could lead to the drug being administered subcutaneously or near major nerves and blood vessels, potentially decreasing the treatment’s efficacy.
Five to Ten Percent of patients with cancer will need to visit the intensive care unit (ICU) for a life-threatening condition. In fact, estimates suggest that nearly 30% of patients with esophageal cancer or acute leukemia and those undergoing allogenic stem cell transplantation will need ICU care.
In a supplement to the April 2017 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, ONS released its first set of recommendations for nurse education and safe handling principles regarding immunotherapy administration. ONS recommendations are based on best-available evidence and the anecdotal experiences of professionals at cancer centers with varied experiences in immunotherapy administration.
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