The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is working to improve communication between oncology providers and other non-oncology healthcare professionals with the release of its Immunotherapy Patient Wallet Card. The card enables patients to carry information about their treatment and side effects with them to appointments with non-oncology providers. The goal is to help inform providers who may not be on their oncology care team that patients are receiving immunotherapy and this will greatly impact their care.
Immunotherapy treatment is one of the fastest-evolving areas of oncology to date. Previously, it could take years for some cancers to see new treatment options; today clinicians are frequently seeing new approvals and indications of immuno-oncology agents.
Unlike chemotherapy that targets and destroys cells directly, immunotherapy drugs use the body’s own immune system, either actively or passively, to target and kill cancer cells. This promising type of treatment has enormous benefits for patients with cancer and the oncology community, although it also presents challenges as healthcare providers work to keep up with emerging trends, new adverse events to manage, and changing treatment plans.
When a patient is treated with immunotherapy, the management of side effects differ greatly from those of chemotherapy and is dependent on the specific class of immunotherapy treatment being used. Treatment is further complicated when patients seek care with another healthcare provider, such as their primary care physician, or at the emergency department.
“The ONS Immunotherapy Wallet Card was created to address a challenge identified by ONS members when their patients required medical care outside of the oncology care setting. The card informs healthcare professionals of the known risks and adverse events of immunotherapy—not only letting them know of the importance of contacting the oncology team, but also cautioning them against managing immunotherapy adverse events as they would chemotherapy-related effects,” explains Kathleen Wiley, RN, MSN, AOCNS®, oncology clinical team lead at ONS.
The ONS Immunotherapy Patient Wallet Card is available free of charge, for a limited time, to any healthcare providers who would like a supply for their institution. Order here.
ONS is a professional association of more than 39,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.