Care management by oncology nurses to address palliative care needs: A pilot trial to assess feasibility, acceptability, and perceived effectiveness of the CONNECT intervention

Yael Schenker, Douglas White, Margaret Rosenzweig, Edward Chu, Charity Moore, Peter Ellis, Peggy Nikolajski, Colleen Ford, Greer Tiver, Lauren Mccarthy, Robert Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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