Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre

Investigating the need for a Nurse led Pre Treatment Clinic for Blood Cancer Patients

January 24, 2024 | Blog
Investigating the need for a Nurse led Pre Treatment Clinic for Blood Cancer Patients

My name is Laura Kiernan and I work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Haematology. The main focus of my CNS role is to provide support and education for patients with a new diagnosis or relapsed haematological malignancy (blood cancer), such as Multiple Myeloma, Leukaemia or Lymphoma.

Throughout 2023, I reviewed 205 patients who were commencing treatment in the Haematology Oncology Ward. Some I met with their family before commencing treatment, others I managed to meet on the day of starting treatment – with or without their family. I provide patients with both verbal and written education about their diagnosis, planned treatment schedule and side effects. I also provide them with information about support services within the hospital and in the community and made any relevant referrals at this time.

In September 2023 I decided to ask patients about their experience of how they received information, to find out if attending a pre treatment clinic with a specialist nurse would be of benefit to them. I presented my idea to the Cancer Patient Partnership Working Group. This is a group of patient partners and staff who work together on various on projects. They gave me great advice on the type of questions to ask  in my survey and on changes I should make so it was easier to read and understand.

I sent out 30 surveys and received 19 back. The feedback was very positive, with an overwhelming agreement that meeting a CNS at the beginning of treatment alleviated anxiety and allowed time for questions. Most agreed that a dedicated, separate appointment to meet a CNS before treatment begins would be beneficial. There were also some other suggestions that I had not considered, and this has helped me to plan other improvements of the service I provide. These include:

  • Develop a pre-treatment nurse specialist clinic – This clinic will be held on a date before treatment and will be used to provide education about the drugs, side effects and support services available for patients and their family. Referrals to appropriate teams members will be made. Ideally at this appointment, patients could have any outstanding tests performed, and any prescriptions provided to them, to minimize stress on the first treatment day.
  • Develop an End of treatment summary – This is something that came up as part of the feedback. Patients said that when they finish treatment it can be hard to remember all the details of the treatment they had. I plan to develop a treatment summary’ document that can be given to patients.
  • Add a follow up call to the patient plan of care – The majority of patients were in agreement that a follow up phone call with the CNS they had met, either 1 week, or 1 month after commencing treatment would be of benefit. It is at these times that new questions are formed, that weren’t asked at the beginning, or even new symptoms appear, and patients need additional advice and support. Referrals that were declined at the initial stages might actually be relevant at this stage also.

You can read a copy of the results from the survey by Click Here