Patients facing treatment may feel overwhelmed with information about their disease, their therapy and the effects they will encounter from each. But thoughtful words from the care team can do much to help.
Working through the Accelerating City of Hope Excellence (ACE) program, a team of faculty and staff members recently focused on improving how care team members inform patients about possible chemotherapy side effects and how to manage them.
Shannon Martin, left, participates in a skit with Susan Dilks.
Two other teams focused on clinical trials: One sought to improve financial management of trials; the other reviewed the entire City of Hope clinical trials system to pinpoint areas that could be improved in future ACE events.
Teams reported their successes March 23.
City of Hope conducts regular surveys to gauge patients’ satisfaction with their treatment experiences. The results can highlight areas that need improvement. Surveys recently showed that patients need better education about managing possible side effects of chemotherapy.
“When patients are diagnosed with cancer, they can be bombarded with new information,” said Brenda Williams, B.S.N., R.N., clinical nurse manager in the hematology infusion clinics in the Geri & Richard Brawerman Ambulatory Care Center. “We found that we can do a better job of giving patients the information they need so they don’t feel overwhelmed by their treatment side effects.”
Williams led the ACE team that sought better ways to provide this patient education. The team developed a curriculum to teach important information in simple form through pamphlets, on a website and in person. Additionally, nurses began wearing “Ask Me” buttons that encourage patients to ask about their treatment.
“We saw that even the seemingly small things made a difference,” said Williams. “Patients really appreciated when nurses took a seat and spoke eye-to-eye with them, and they said the ‘Ask Me’ buttons really did make it easier to ask questions of nurses.”
The team focused on the 1D infusion clinic for the ACE event but aims to adapt it to all infusion clinics.
Conducting clinical trials
City of Hope provides patients with many clinical trial options. Studies aim to give patients the newest treatment options while advancing the science of medicine. Clinical trials also may enable some patients to receive expanded care without additional cost.
“We found opportunities to improve the clinical trial experience for patients while also benefiting our physician researchers, who are continually looking for ways to improve treatment overall,” said Douglas Stahl, Ph.D., vice president of clinical research operations.
One ACE team worked to ensure that financial tracking and billing for clinical trials were formally organized into written procedures so that all trials are managed consistently. Another team examined how faculty and staff members conduct clinical trials at City of Hope. Their efforts identified key opportunities for ACE rapid improvement events that are scheduled to take place over the next 18 months.
The next ACE events are scheduled for April 23 through 27. For more information, employees may visit www.coh.org/ACE. Questions about ACE also may be addressed to Tricia Kassab, R.N., B.S.N., M.S., vice president of quality and patient safety, at email@example.com.