Friday, May 9, 2014

Nurse-Led Interventions Reduced Shortness of Breath, Fatigue in Lung Cancer Patients

A nurse-led symptom management program conducted in Canada showed improvements for patients with lung cancer in the areas of dyspnea, or shortness of breath, and fatigue. Nurses provided patients with information and support, according to a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 39th Annual Congress.

Researchers at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, conducted the study in partnership with the Dyspnea Management Clinic. Oncology nurses used the results of an assessment of patients’ understanding of their symptoms to develop a protocol for patients with underlying lung cancer, Oncology Nurse Advisor reports. The protocol included:
  • Assessment of breathlessness,
  • Understanding the meaning of symptoms,
  • Recognition of problems that require medical intervention,
  • Offering breathing retraining,
  • Use of relaxation technique, and
  • Goal setting.
Each of the 43 patients participating received a one-hour consultation combined with follow-up visits. Their understanding of symptoms was measured by advanced nurse practitioners. The nurses could then implement a comprehensive approach to address dyspnea symptoms. Scores for dyspnea and tiredness were significantly improved in all patients when compared to a previous control group of 40 patients. The results demonstrate that oncology nurse-led interventions are effective methods for improving symptom management in patients with lung cancer, according to the researchers.

The role of nurses in providing care to cancer patients was explored by an INQRI team at the University of Utah. Led by Susan Beck, this interdisciplinary team designed a robust measure to assess adult patients’ opinions about how nurses manage cancer-related pain. Beck and her team developed an instrument using qualitative and quantitative data to elicit patients’ opinions about how their nurses and other members of their care team managed their pain and, ultimately, to help patients select hospitals based on this dimension of their care experience.

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