Group pre-assessment for patients undergoing chemotherapy: Our experience at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (2017)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

*Allos B.; *Redgrave R.; *Davies W.; *Chatterjee A.

Lung Cancer; Jan 2017; vol. 103, Supplement 1, Page S47

Introduction: Waiting time targets in England and Wales state cancer treatment must commence within 31 days of the treatment plan being agreed. Often, pressures on chemotherapy units, such as low staffing levels and capacity, delays starting chemotherapy. This may impact outcomes. To improve capacity and waiting times we have implemented group pre-assessment (GPAC) for all prospective chemotherapy patients at our trust. Methods: Previously each patient received a 1-hour pre-assessment appointment with a dedicated nurse. For non-urgent patients we have established GPAC clinics since January 2014. These are run three times a week by volunteers in conjunction with one chemotherapy nurse and accommodate 6 patients per session. Patients watch a 25-minute DVD providing general information on chemotherapy in addition to introducing the unit, nurses and general treatment procedures. A unit tour follows this. Each patient receives a diagnosis-specific  tumour pack and the session concludes with a 10-minute one-to-one meeting with a nurse to discuss their personal treatment regime. Results: We pre-assess up to 18 patients a week via GPAC. Since implementation we have reduced nursing hours needed for this service to a maximum of 6 hours per week. From September 2015 to August 2016 a total of 667 patients attended GPAC clinic with 312 nursing hours required. Our unit has consequently saved 355 nursing hours over that time period (Figure 1). Patient satisfaction with the service remains high with 24/25 (96%) of patients surveyed rating the service as good to excellent across five categories. With GPAC initiation, our average chemotherapy waiting time has reduced to 13 days from over 20 days. Conclusion: By initiating GPAC our department has significantly saved nursing hours allowing us to reallocate these to chemotherapy delivery and service development. With increased capacity to treat patients waiting times have been significantly reduced. This has not been to the detriment of patient satisfaction. (Table Presented).