Nursing Care of Cancer-Related Fatigue

May 1, 2016

In this video Alexis Covert, BSN, RN, OCN, discusses a study that aimed to raise awareness among staff nurses on the assessment of cancer-related fatigue, a prevalent and distressing cancer symptoms that affects 80% to 100% cancer patients, and interventions to help treat it.

In this video Alexis Covert, BSN, RN, OCN, of the James Cancer Hospital in Ohio, discusses a study that aimed to raise awareness among staff nurses on the assessment of cancer-related fatigue, a prevalent and distressing cancer symptoms that affects 80% to 100% cancer patients, and interventions to help treat it.

Please note: Due to technical difficulties with the audio during the shooting of this video, we’ve provided a transcript of the discussion below.

Hi, I’m Alexis Covert, I’m a nurse manager at the James Cancer Hospital. My poster is on the nursing care of cancer-related fatigue. We decided to focus on this because we found that up to 80% of our patients are experiencing fatigue, and we were not doing as much as we could to help them.

We were amazed to find that the research showed that patients experienced cancer-related fatigue and these manifestations affect every aspect of their life-not just physically, but mentally, financially. We really wanted to dive in and see what we could do to help them.

Some areas that we focused on were nutrition, anemia, and just their everyday routine and what they can do to improve their life. These include distractions, avoiding caffeine, maintaining a sleep-wake cycle-things that really aren’t that complex but will make a huge difference in their life.

One of the main things they can do is exercise. That was the only evidence-based thing that was proven to assist with cancer-related fatigue. We found there were a lot of barriers-patients are kind of intimidated, or might be post-op and still feeling fatigue so they’re not sure what their physical level is. Or they’re intimidated to do it on their own.

At the James we have “JamesCare for Life,” a facility that helps our patients. We had a survivor come and talk and she does swims and group yoga, and she said that makes a tremendous difference in her life.

We’re also working to educate our staff-our goal is to get 70% of our staff educated on how to assess cancer-related fatigue and what interventions they can do to help their patients.