How to improve your oncology patients’ treatment plans
Thursday, December 05, 2019
Cancer patients being treated at your facility face myriad difficulties, including physical challenges, treatment side effects and emotional stress. As a healthcare professional, you know this well, and are no doubt seeking to make a hospital stay as beneficial as possible for these patients.
The good news is that you can make proactive management decisions that will truly benefit your oncology patients by following this easy but powerful advice:
Focus on ward placement.
Research from Hummy Song at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School earlier this year found that a surprising 19.6% of patients are placed in a ward outside of the area of care they need.
Coordinate your bed rotation carefully to avoid this upon admission as frequently as you can; move patients to appropriate wards as soon as beds open up and make sure out-of-ward patients are placed as closely to the wards where their care is focused as possible.
Utilize palliative care coordination quickly.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that "co-rounding" by oncologists and palliative team members resulted in a 23% decrease in readmissions to the hospital. When patients are open to early palliative care and it's appropriate, giving this kind of multidisciplinary care can be comforting both physically and emotionally.
Anticipate infection specifically.
A study from the University of Colorado, Denver found that cancer patients who are hospitalized often get E. coli or Klebsiella pneumoniae bacterial infections, but staff are often not prepared for this.
Planning for the possibility your patients may deal with these challenges means your staff can pre-target antibiotic therapies and utilize them quickly.
Find out what your oncology patients are specifically concerned about by checking in multiple times daily with your care teams.
Do you hear a frequent concern or complaint in particular? Work to resolve this concern, be it through additional supplies, new treatment strategies or additional counseling and support.
Introduce yourself to your oncology patients and tell them you are personally available whenever they need you. Compassion is powerful medicine — always give it in big doses.
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