A nurse pioneering the development of a web-based tool to understand how treatments for a rare pregnancy-related cancer impact on patients’ quality of life, has earned the best-ranked abstract (research paper) at the European Oncology Nursing Society conference.
Jane Ireson is a clinical nurse specialist and National Institute for Health and Care Research doctoral fellow and researcher in residence, specialising in the experience of cancer patients. She is based at Weston Park hospital in Sheffield.
Improving patient care at Weston Park Cancer Centre
Jane’s study, entitled ‘Integrating an electronic Patient Reported Outcome Measure (ePROM) into a nurse-led rare cancer pathway’, outlined work led by a team of nurses from Weston Park Cancer Centre. Their work led to an electronic patient reported outcome measuring system which will allow for improved care for patients with gestational trophoblastic disease.
Gestational trophoblastic disease is a rare complication of pregnancy that can present as, or turn into, cancer. Weston Park Cancer Centre is home to one of only two national gestational trophoblastic disease treatment centres.
The tool, known as ePAQ-GTD (electronic personal assessment questionnaire-GTD), was developed with input from patients using Sheffield’s own electronic personal assessment questionnaire technology. The tool was tailored to include self-reported feedback from patients on how cancer treatments affect their health and wellbeing.
This information covers a wide range of areas from physical symptoms, the psychological impact, fertility implications, sexual function, self-image and activities of daily living. The information collected is presented to nurses ahead of patient clinics in the form of a simple electronic summary. Nurses can then use this information to prioritise health and wellbeing concerns that matter to patients in new virtual nurse-led clinics.
The research found that women were more likely to engage with ePAQ-GTD when there was a perceived personal benefit. Integrating the tool into routine care also had a positive effect on patients’ communication, wellbeing and engagement with clinical services. In addition, the tool helped patients to have important discussions with specialist gestational trophoblastic disease nurses about the ongoing impacts of the disease and its treatment. This was particularly beneficial regarding taboo subjects such as sexual dysfunction and mental health.
Patients are asked to complete the questionnaire when they are first referred to Weston Park, at the start and end of their treatment, and at six weeks, six months and yearly, following chemotherapy alongside their lab based follow up.
Acclaim for Jane Ireson
Jane spoke with pride about the importance of the team’s research, saying:
“I am delighted and honoured to receive this recognition. As one of only two specialist national gestational trophoblastic disease treatment centres in the UK, this accolade is an endorsement of how Sheffield is once again leading the way with innovative nursing-led research and patient-centred care that has the potential to impact on global cancer practice in gestational trophoblastic disease and other areas within oncology such as pelvic radiotherapy.”
The tool is now routinely used in Sheffield and is being piloted across the UK gestational trophoblastic disease centre service as part of the research. It is hoped that it can continue to be used to better understand the cancer experience and to help nurses know how patients can be best supported through their treatment.