Post-Flooding Natural Disaster Cancer Considerations and Patient Education Points
Natural disasters present unique challenges to patients with cancer and the healthcare systems that must stand ready to keep them healthy. Exposure to floodwater places patients at risk for infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injury, and anything in the water’s path, including medical equipment, medications, homes, and vehicles, can be severely damaged or destroyed. Patients with cancer who are immunocompromised are a highly vulnerable post-flooding population and need special guidance.
Certain Cancers May Increase Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Patients with lung, pancreatic, breast, brain, urinary tract, or uterine cancers may be more likely to develop new-onset type 2 diabetes after their cancer diagnosis, according to research findings published in Diabetes Care, and those who went on to develop type 2 diabetes experienced poorer overall health outcomes.
Nurse Scientists Are Leading Patient Care Discoveries in the Ever-Evolving World of Cancer Survivorship
The cancer survivorship program team at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center is conducting numerous research projects such as cancer treatment’s late effects, survivors’ quality of life and health behaviors, telemedicine for survivorship visits, and even an artificial intelligence–powered, mobile phone–based program to support patient adherence to guidance from survivorship visits.
Low Cost-Related Health Literacy May Prevent Survivors From Following Care Plans
Not understanding terms like deductible, copay, premium, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum prevents many Americans from selecting a health insurance plan that meets their financial needs. Fewer than 40% of patients enrolled in high-deductible healthcare plans engage in effective financial behaviors, such as comparing prices or discussing costs with clinicians. High costs are a barrier for many patients and survivors to access high-quality cancer and survivorship care.
Oncology Nurse Educates the Public on the Evolution of Cancer Care and Survivorship
With care shifting to outpatient delivery and the increased availability of evidence-based support services, cancer care and survivor support has greatly evolved during the past 25 years, according to ONS member Carlin Callaway, DNP, MS, RN, ACNP-BC, ACNS-BC, AOCNP®, assistant professor and lead medical oncology advanced practice provider at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and member of the ONS Metro Denver Chapter, in a June 2022 public-facing blog post for the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Cancer.Net website.
Data Coordinators and Oncology Nurses Collaborate to Create Accurate, Comprehensive Survivorship Care Plans
Coordinating survivorship care plans is an integral part of cancer care. When the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Network experienced challenges in implementing survivorship care plans, it created a brand-new medical role—survivorship data coordinator—to “initiate case findings for eligible patients, track patients completing treatment, notify physicians and advanced practice providers to populate the survivorship care plan, and schedule survivorship care plan appointments.”
Social and Community Context Matter in Cancer Care
A person’s zip code often matters more than their genetic code when it comes to their health. Where we live and work, how connected we are in our community, and how much support we have are core social determinants of health that also significantly affect cancer health outcomes.
Biden Adds New Members to Cancer Cabinet
With broad backgrounds in oncology genetics, immunology, and disparities, President Joe Biden’s three July 2022 appointments to the Cancer Cabinet will help guide the United States on opportunities to reduce cancer’s barriers and burden for underserved populations.
New Technology Tools Help Oncology APRNs Improve Patient Outcomes
Clinical decision support systems are tools integrated into electronic health records that include reminders for preventive care, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, order sets, and alerts for drug prescribing. In health care, artificial intelligence converts data into knowledge to guide clinical decisions. When combined, the two technologies can guide advanced practice RNs and other providers with predictions and suggestions that go beyond human accuracy and specificity.
CMS Expands Access to High-Quality Care With Physician Payment Rule Proposal
To decrease cost and increase access to care, in July 2022 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a conversion factor of $33.08 for the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule.
Nurses Are Pivotal to Advancing Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative
As the most trusted professionals for 20 years in a row, nurses witness the needs of those in our care and are suited to translate them to legislatures, regulatory agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and insurers. We do that by speaking plainly about the impact that cancer has on patients and their families. As experts, our ideas and language can translate into practice changes to transform cancer care.
Promote Patient Self-Advocacy Across the Cancer Spectrum
Healthcare professionals are called to provide patient-centered care in an environment where they listen to patients’ goals and desires and support patient autonomy. However, heeding that call requires patients’ participation to voice their needs and concerns, and some patients may be reluctant to speak up for themselves.
Cost Can Prevent Patients From Receiving Follow-Up Care, Study Suggests
Financial considerations are notable barriers for patients with cancer receiving follow-up cancer care, according to study findings from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All of Us Research Program.
Oncology Care Model Created New Opportunities for APRNs to Transform Cancer Care
Launched in 2016 as a pilot program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center to develop new payment and delivery system models, the Oncology Care Model had a lofty goal: drive improvements in providing high-quality and cost-effective care.
CDC Reports More Than 1.7 Million New Cancer Cases in 2019
More than 1.7 million new invasive cancer cases were reported in the United States in 2019, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated in June 2022.
CNS Survivorship Needs More Research, Funding, and Training, Expert Panel Says
Access and reimbursement, patient and provider education, core competencies, and survivorship research funding remain critical barriers for primary central nervous system (CNS) cancer survivorship, a team of National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Oncology Network Evaluating Rare CNS Tumors experts reported in a workshop summary published in Neuro-Oncology Advances.
The Clinical Pharmacist’s Role in Symptom Assessments
Healthcare professionals involved in direct patient care, such as nurses, pharmacists, advanced practice providers, and physicians, learn methods of symptom assessment during education and training, but each profession uses a slightly different lens. The ability to consider polypharmacy and drug-drug interactions in patient assessment is one of the most important skills a clinical pharmacist uses in daily practice. Clinical pharmacists caring for patients with cancer must identify drug-related side effects, monitor and manage patients during chronic drug therapy, and educate patients and members of the interprofessional team, all in the context of the intricacies of antineoplastic therapy and adherence assessment.
Symptom assessment gives oncology nurses a consistent matrix to directly evaluate the significance that symptoms have on patients’ distress, quality of life, and survival. Both symptoms and their impact can evolve throughout a patient’s cancer course, making high-quality and detail-oriented assessments an essential tool for successful treatment and management.
Community Health Centers Get Funding to Advance Equity in Cancer Screening and Follow-Up Care
With the relaunch of the Biden-Harris administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, the fight against cancer is back in the government spotlight. To support the Moonshot’s goals, in May 2022 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocated $5 million to the Health Resources and Services Administration-funded community health centers.
CMS’s Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map Will Help Patients and Providers
Highlighting the most prominent barriers that people accessing care face and the influencers acting on providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled in May Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map. The map came out of the work done under the 2019 Chronic Pain Stakeholder Engagement initiative to explore the serious role chronic pain has in patients’ lives.
Independent Advocates Help Patients With Dementia Navigate Cancer Care
Clinicians have an implicit—if not explicit—obligation to advocate for their patients. However, as health care’s complexity increases, independent advocates can help patients navigate systematic challenges throughout the continuum. Independent advocates follow the patient, not the reimbursement constraints, a chief distinction between us and clinical, facility, or agency case managers.
The Evolution of Ambulatory Care
Ambulatory oncology began to gradually evolve in the mid-2000s to include multiple aspects of the care continuum. Then suddenly, a pandemic skyrocketed that growth as institutions Raced to develop their ambulatory infrastructure to meet new and changing needs.
The Case of the Swift Sepsis Response
Simon is a 72-year-old patient diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. He underwent an HLA-identical sibling peripheral blood stem cell transplantation with fludarabine and melphalan as conditioning chemotherapies before the procedure. Simon is now more than 12 days posttransplant but still neutropenic with an absolute neutrophil count of 0. He has no signs of engraftment, is on total parenteral nutrition, and requires multiple blood transfusions and electrolytes through his central line catheter daily.
What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Telehealth
Thrust into the mainstream in 2020, telehealth has transformed how patients with cancer receive some of their care, substituting certain traditional in-person office or clinic visits for phones, videos, and apps and devices that monitor patients’ health. It’s improved access to care in areas previously considered at risk for disparities: for example, patients in remote locations can be managed in an acute-care setting using television monitors, cameras, and call buttons to contact specialists.
Building a CAR T-Cell Program: How to Go From None to Done
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a promising new treatment option for patients with certain types of cancer. As the field expands, institutions are exploring specialized service lines to provide the treatment, speakers said during a presentation on April 22, 2021, for the 46th Annual ONS Congress™ as they shared the lessons learned as their institutions established CAR T-cell therapy programs.
Involve the Entire Cancer Care Team to Effectively Implement Guidelines
Only 19% of strategies to implement clinical practice guidelines are fully effective and the majority (43%) are not effective at all, according to the findings from a clinical review in the European Union. Effective guideline implementation requires teamwork, interprofessional engagement, and selecting the most appropriate tool for the job.
Virtual Care for Patients With Cancer in New Jersey During COVID-19
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is unchartered territory with many unknowns, especially a new reality that nurses may be experiencing for the first time: virtual patient care. Even at a distance, the team at Jefferson Health New Jersey Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Sewell wanted to ensure we offered the same level of care and encouragement to patients in all phases of the cancer continuum, so here’s what we found worked for us.
How Can Electronic Health Records Help Nurses Implement OCM Changes?
The Oncology Care Model (OCM) is a value-based payment system that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is piloting. OCM focuses on decreasing the cost of cancer care while continuing to provide high-quality care, including a high level of care coordination and navigation and adherence to national guidelines for care. Part of OCM requires implementing certain practice changes, including documenting a 13-point care plan for each patient.
Patient-Centered Care Through the Oncology Care Model
Better care. Smarter spending. Healthier people. Those are the three hallmark goals of the Oncology Care Model, a value-based payment system developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Center for Innovation.
How Is ONS Supporting OCM Nursing Practice?
The preliminary outcomes for performance in the first year of the Oncology Care Model (OCM) have shown modest but interesting results for the value-based payment model. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ year-one evaluation examined the initial impact of the new payment model on practice in terms of outcomes related to total cost of care per practice, unplanned hospital and emergency department visits, hospital visits, and patient-reported satisfaction with care for six-month episodes of chemotherapy for beneficiaries from July 1, 2016–June 30, 2017.
Senators Create Bipartisan Comprehensive Care Caucus
After years of confusion, discussion, debate, and dedicated advocacy work, lawmakers are finally understanding what palliative care is—symptom management, not hospice—and how it’s employed in care. The benefits of early palliative interventions for many diseases, including cancer, can improve quality of life for patients as they navigate their diagnoses. To increase awareness and availability of palliative care in practice, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Barrasso, MD (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) launched the bipartisan Senate Comprehensive Care Caucus on July 31, 2019.
Bipartisan Reps Reintroduce Cancer Care Planning and Communications Act
In divisive times, fewer congressional bills find their way to the president’s desk without considerable bipartisan support. The dance of legislation is complex. Maneuvering through the legislative terrain and avoiding political landmines requires partnerships, expert data, and—at times—a little bit of luck. In the case of the Cancer Care Planning and Communications Act (H.R. 3835), that’s the story so far.
New Genetics Service Delivery Models Help Patients Access Genetic Counseling
As genetic and genomic testing become more common—and complex—in cancer diagnosis and treatment decisions, more efficient and accessible ways of providing comprehensive genetic care are needed. In their article in the February 2019 issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, Pierle and Mahon discussed the findings from their literature review, specifically pertaining to genetics care services across the cancer continuum, patient and system barriers to accessing care, new service delivery models, and oncology nurses’ role in providing comprehensive cancer genetics care services.
Oncology Urgent Care Clinics Are an Emerging Setting for Cancer Care Delivery
Patients with cancer are living longer, embarking on complex treatment regimens, and experiencing more complications associated with care. As a result, a large volume of patients with cancer require urgent or emergency visits throughout their disease trajectory. Although the need remains constant, what has evolved over time are the chief complaints that bring patients in, the care associated with complications, and new options to lower the burden and cost of care.
Caring for Patients Through All Levels of Survivorship
The medical terms for living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis identify patients as entering the survivorship phase of their cancer journey. However, as science continues to develop new treatments responsible for extending patients’ lives, new levels of survivorship are being determined.
Care Coordination Standardizes Monitoring for Patients Prescribed Oral Cancer Agents
Use of oral therapies requires healthcare teams to monitor patients for issues such as unreported side effects, medication nonadherence, and incorrect administration of medications. Although many patients do very well with this form of treatment, some patients, even with a significant amount of education before starting therapy, may have challenges.
Updated Core Competencies Reflect Evolution of Nurse Navigator Role
Although care coordination and interdisciplinary collaboration are essential components of every oncology nurse’s role, oncology nurse navigators (ONNs) take that work even farther by helping patients and caregivers navigate a complex healthcare system and access much-needed resources. By ONS’s definition, ONNs are key in meeting patient and caregiver needs while providing evidence-based, cost-effective, and quality cancer care by eliminating barriers to timely care.
Electronic Health Records Provide a Link Between Patient Data and Care Outcomes
Electronic health records (EHRs) can offer so much more than a way to keep all processes and procedures linked to a patient. Christina Boord, BSN, RN, OCN®, and Cori Kopecky, MSN, RN, OCN®, discussed electronic health records, patient data, and outcomes during a session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC.
The Importance of Passion, Experience, and Resilience in Oncology Nursing
What makes a great oncology nurse? Is it opportunity and experience? Is it passion? I’ve worked with managers who’ve held wildly different opinions on these hiring characteristics, but I would argue they’re all critically important.
The Role of Oncology Nursing Navigation Continues to Grow
Oncology nurse navigators (ONNs) fill a critical, ever-growing role in cancer care settings across the country, providing patients with the resources, education, and care coordination they need to successfully navigate their cancer journey. By reducing barriers and burdens on patients and their caregivers, ONNs help lead patients from initial diagnosis, during treatment, into survivorship, and often through end-of-life care.
APRNs Bridge the Gap in Survivorship Care
As improved screening, diagnosis, and treatments lead to cancer’s classification as a chronic disease, people with cancer are surviving longer than ever before. However, with lengthened survival comes long-term physical and emotional symptoms and other sequelae that require ongoing surveillance and management. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are essential to delivering quality survivorship care.
CMS Releases Report on Oncology Care Model
The cost of cancer care and the quality of patient services has always been a top priority in health care. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center has been working to strengthen both elements of care. CMS, through its Oncology Care Model (OCM) division, works with cancer care providers to develop payment strategies and performance categories in treatment plans for patients with cancer.
Lay Patient Navigators Can Help Oncology Nurses Guide Patients Through Cancer Care
Even for medical professionals working in health care every day, the U.S. healthcare system can be incredibly complex. Understanding where to obtain information and how to connect patients to resources can be difficult. For patients, navigating their treatment journey can be—at times—downright impossible. Coordinating care for patients with cancer is a crucial component to successful outcomes and quality cancer care.
How ONS Supports Oncology Nurse Navigators in Care Coordination
When I worked in the clinical setting, like many of you, I guided patients through treatments, prepared them for managing their care at home, celebrated the completion of treatment, and grieved the deaths of many. I coordinated patients’ care.
How Oncology Nurse Navigation Contributes to Effective Care Coordination
Well-coordinated care by knowledgeable healthcare providers improves patient-centered care, supports shared decision making, reduces fragmentation of care, and decreases readmissions and emergency room visits. However, patients with complex care needs are often lost in the very systems designed to support them.
Patient-Provider Communication on Immunotherapy Can Be Improved
Guidelines regarding healthcare provider communication about immunotherapy do not currently exist. Researchers sought to determine patient and provider preferences for this type of information and to identify barriers to communication about immunotherapy. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
How Can Oncology and ICU Nurses Work Together to Treat Critically Ill Patients With Cancer?
Nurses in the intensive care unit (ICU) generally see patients with cancer only when they are extremely sick—not throughout the extensive cancer journey they go through before they get to the ICU. Educating and familiarizing ourselves, as ICU nurses, with a patient’s oncology plan, goals, and history can improve overall care. Learning at which points in the process of cancer treatment certain issues are more likely to arise, such as tumor lysis syndrome during high-dose induction, when a patient is most likely to be neutropenic during a stem cell transplant, and other general facts about oncology, can help improve the care we give. It helps us understand our patients as a whole. The oncology population is a huge part of medical intensive care, and encouraging critical care nurses and oncology nurses to collaborate can help improve the continuity of care and eliminate errors in the ICU.
Organizations Define Care Coordination and Transition Management Nursing Roles
Each year, the ONS Board of Directors sponsors a session at the ONS Annual Congress on a particularly important, high-impact topic. During a session at the 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO, the leadership chose the up-and-coming nursing role of care coordination and transition management.
Program Improves Care and Decreases Costs for Patients With Cancer
The estimated cancer prevalence by age in the United States is expected to increase from 216 million in 1975 to 380 million in 2040. With older cancer survivors, the severity of disease and treatment will increase, and the physiologic effects of aging, such as pre-existing conditions and new-onset morbidity, will impact the level of care needed for older adults.