Symptom management needs of oncology outpatients.


QUESTION What were the needs of outpatients for symptom management? METHOD A multidisciplinary team assembled to determine the need for a symptom management clinic. Two surveys were developed for potential users: one for the outpatients and the other for the attending oncologists. INTERVENTION During a 3-week period, outpatients were approached after registering for the oncology clinic and while waiting for their appointment. Ninety-five percent of the outpatients approached completed the survey. FINDINGS A total of 112 surveys revealed that outpatients would attend a symptom management clinic for relief of pain (50%), fatigue (40%), nausea/vomiting (30%), and/or sleeping difficulty (30%). A total of 16 surveys completed by oncologists revealed that outpatients could use more assistance with pain (81%), diet (75%), depression (69%), and/or fatigue (56%). Outpatients felt they would benefit from meeting with a nurse (35%), social worker (21%), dietician (18%), and/or pharmacist (18%). While oncologists thought that the following would complement care: dietician (69%), psychologist (69%), nurse (56%), and/or social worker (56%). Fifty-one percent of the outpatients indicated that they would attend a symptom management clinic and all but one oncologist would refer to this clinic. DISCUSSION While there exists some disconnect between perceived need for symptom management between outpatient and oncologist, it is evident that pain is the symptom of primary concern. An interdisciplinary team of oncologist, nurse, social worker, dietician, pharmacist, and psychologist could collaboratively address the presenting symptoms. Users, both outpatients and oncologists perceive benefit from a collaborative and interdisciplinary symptom management clinic.

Cite this paper

@article{Whitmer2006SymptomMN, title={Symptom management needs of oncology outpatients.}, author={Kyra M Whitmer and Jane M Pruemer and Z A Nahleh and Abdul Rahman Jazieh}, journal={Journal of palliative medicine}, year={2006}, volume={9 3}, pages={628-30} }