A clinical pathway for pain management, developed by a task force of 18 registered nurses from Fox Chase Cancer Center and its network of community hospitals, was published in the January/February issue of Oncology Issues, the official journal of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC).
It is gratifying to have our hard work recognized by such a prestigious organization, said Karin Hoffmann, RN, CCM, clinical standards coordinator for Fox Chase Network. In most of our Fox Chase Network hospitals, our clinical pathways were catalysts for recognizing that such pathways are tools. These tools are able to monitor a cancer care program based on identified patient outcome.
Pathways Developed for Five Cancer-Related Complications
Since cancers are episodic, chronic, and unpredictable and involve a number of treatment specialists, few pathways in oncology have been developed to date. The Fox Chase task force recently completed pathways for five cancer-related complications. The pathways developed are for pain management, neutropenic fever, nausea- and vomiting-related dehydration due to chemotherapy, leukemia, and palliative care.
Complications often demand an increased length of stay and high-cost readmission to the hospital. Developing clinical pathways is one way of reducing health-care costs while improving quality of care and treatment outcomes.
The 18 nurses on the task force collaborated and developed five pathways using literature search, chart review, and guest speakers whose expertise enhanced the final versions.
The most challenging part of the process involved the acceptance and the implementation of these clinical pathways at the individual institutions, said Hoffmann.