There is no doubt in the mind of oncology nurses that infection prevention is paramount to providing safe, quality cancer care. Neutropenic precautions have long been integrated into the plan of care for patients whose immune system are compromised due to cancer or cancer treatment.  

However, the level of evidence supporting some of the infection prevention strategies nurses may implement is sometimes questioned in practice.  Many operate under the thought that it’s simply “because that’s what we’ve always done.” Nursing practice often struggles with weighing the risks and benefits of non-pharmacologic interventions that may or may not improve patient outcomes and quality of life. 

The neutropenic, or low-bacterial diet, is one strategy that varies greatly in practice. It’s commonly implemented, enforced, or taught to immunosuppressed patients in an effort to restrict the ingestion of foods associated with food-borne illnesses. ONS is interested in learning the practices, policies, and rationale for implementing this strategy across practice settings and patient populations. 

Share Your Thoughts With ONS

While we know neutropenic precautions involve interdisciplinary collaboration, ONS wants to explore the varying practices surrounding the neutropenic diet and the patient populations in which it is implemented. We also want to assess ONS members' needs regarding the translation of the evidence into practice. 

A survey will be sent out to a randomly selected sample, and we ask that you complete the survey to help us better understand practices at your point of care. We will include a detailed analysis of the survey data in blog post later this year. ONS hopes to use the survey outcomes to identify ways in which we can assist you, such as expanding educational resources and clinical tools to support best practice recommendations for the neutropenic diet.