Background: Specialty palliative care is not accessible for many patients with advanced cancer. There is a need to find alternative palliative care strategies in oncology clinics. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and perceived effectiveness of an oncology nurse-led care management approach to improve primary palliative care. Methods: The study design was a single-arm pilot trial of the Care Management by Oncology Nurses (CONNECT) intervention, in which registered oncology nurses receive specialized training and work closely with oncologists to (1) address symptom needs; (2) engage patients and caregivers in advance care planning; (3) provide emotional support; and (4) coordinate care. The subjects were 23 patients with advanced cancer, 19 caregivers, and 5 oncologists from a community oncology clinic in western Pennsylvania. Feasibility was assessed through enrollment rates, outcome assessment rates, and visit checklists. Patients, caregivers, and oncologists completed three-month assessments of acceptability and perceived effectiveness. Results: The consent-to-approach rate was 86% and enrolled-to-consent rate, 77%. CONNECT was implemented according to protocol for all participants. No participants withdrew after enrollment. Four patients died during the study; three-month outcome assessments were completed with all remaining participants (83%). Patients and caregivers reported high satisfaction with CONNECT and perceived the intervention as helpful in addressing symptoms (85%), coping (91%), and planning for the future (82%). Oncologists unanimously agreed that CONNECT improved the quality of care provided for patients with advanced cancer. Conclusion: An oncology nurse-led care management intervention is feasible, acceptable, and was perceived to be effective for improving provision of primary palliative care. A randomized trial of CONNECT is warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine