• A European survey relating to cancer therapy and neutropenic infections: Nurse and patient viewpoints.

      Leonard, Kay; Saint Luke's Radiation Oncology Centre, St James's Hospital, St James's Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. (2011-09-25)
      PURPOSE: Severe neutropenia and febrile neutropenia (FN) are the major causes of morbidity, treatment interruptions and dose reductions in patients undergoing chemotherapy. The European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) conducted an European survey to evaluate nurse perspectives on prevention of infection and FN in this setting, and how much they educate their patients about this. A separate survey explored these issues in patients receiving chemotherapy. METHODS: 217 nurse participants were identified by EONS from the membership database and 473 cancer patients who were receiving/had received chemotherapy were identified through patient advocacy groups. Questionnaires were completed anonymously online for both surveys. RESULTS: More than 90% of the nurses agreed that preventing infections including FN is extremely/very important for a successful chemotherapy outcome and said that they, or other health professionals in their practice, advised patients about these issues. Most (90%) indicated that they favoured giving treatment to protect against FN and infections in chemotherapy patients at risk, rather than treating infection after it develops, but 82% expressed concern over patient concordance with measures employed. A substantial proportion of patients reported emergency room visits, hospitalization and/or chemotherapy delays or changes as a result of neutropenia, infection or FN. However, only 44% said that their infection risk was discussed with them before starting chemotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that nurses recognise the importance of reducing the risk of infection and FN in patients undergoing chemotherapy, as well as the need to educate patients. However, results of the patient survey suggest a need for better patient education.