No Place Like It: Home Care for Patients With Cancer
It’s more than just four walls and a roof. Home is where most people find comfort, solace, and a sense of familiarity. It’s where the heart is, and there’s no place like it. With advancements in cancer therapies, treatment care modalities, and technology, many of today’s patients are finding they can receive a large portion of their care in the home. Home care is not a new concept—rather it’s likely the oldest healthcare setting in human history—but it can be a complex and intricate care environment, especially when addressing specific needs related to cancer treatment. At its heart are expert oncology nursing professionals who safely deliver the best possible care for their patients—in the comfort of their own homes.
National Agencies Recognize Oncology Nursing’s Role in Coordinated Patient Care
We live in the greatest age of scientific discovery and medical breakthroughs. Advances in the innovation and understanding of diseases are providing more insight into how we treat, and often cure, people with life-threatening illnesses. What was once deemed a death sentence diagnosis is now described as a chronic disorder, that can be handled with the help of the patient and a team of healthcare providers.
Individualized Care Plans Decrease Emergency Department Use
Unplanned hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits are an ongoing problem for patients with cancer. At the Taussig Cancer Institute, just 6% of all discharged patients accounted for more than 40% of unplanned readmissions (defined as a hospitalization occurring within 30 days of discharge). Those patients are also at high risk for future admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) stay, ED visits, overuse of chemotherapy, and underuse of hospice resources. Researchers developed an individualized care plan (ICP) for patients with the highest preventable use to see if this would impact hospital use and readmissions. Girish Kunapareddy, MD, at the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
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.
Discussion About Goals of Care May Improve Patient Understanding
Discussing goals of care with patients with advanced cancer can provide better information on the disease, treatment options, and prognosis, as well as elicit patient values. A randomized, controlled trial tested a coaching model to improve healthcare providers’ communication on goals of care. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
Creating and Sustaining Survivorship Care Plans in Practice
With more than 15.5 million Americans living beyond cancer, it’s no surprise that more attention is being paid to survivorship than ever before. Once treatment ends, patients can be thrown back into a world after cancer with little or no attention paid to their concerns about recurrence, late effects from treatment, how to follow up with their future care, and a great many more unknowns.
The Impact of Comorbidities on Patient Care
More than ever before, oncology nurses are required to provide multifaceted care when it comes to managing patients with cancer. As the population of patients with cancer continues to age and cancer becomes more of a chronic condition, oncology nurses are seeing more patients who exhibit comorbidities during their cancer journey.
Help Your Patients Find Financial Resources
The financial burden associated with cancer treatment is reaching new heights. In the heat of making decisions, patients and their families may drastically deplete their finances to reap the advantage a new drug may offer.