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Detecting and managing NS

Case study: The publication of two reports from the NCAG and the NCEPOD, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, highlighted significant concerns regarding safety and heralded a 'call to action' for healthcare professionals

The publication of two reports from the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group (NCAG) and the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD), in 2009 and 2010 respectively, highlighted significant concerns regarding safety and heralded a 'call to action' for healthcare professionals involved in the management of patients receiving chemotherapy. Supported by sanofi-aventis, Succinct worked in close partnership with the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) to develop a range of patient-centred materials for those women receiving Taxotere (docetaxel) for the treatment of breast cancer. A series of UKONS regional meetings, accredited by the Royal College of Nursing, created a platform for discussion of the local management of neutropenic sepsis and how the materials might be best utilised to optimise patient care.

UKONS
Materials were developed with UKONS to help increase awareness of the specific signs of neutropenic sepsis.

 

Challenge
Reports from the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group (NCAG) and the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) highlighted the lack of co-ordinated systems and processes in place for the early recognition and appropriate management of neutropenic sepsis (NS), leading, in some instances, to patient death. Against this backdrop, sanofi-aventis wished to communicate the practical prevention and management of this toxicity, which may be associated with the use of Taxotere. Any successful campaign would need to focus on involving the specialist nurse and the patient, both of whom are pivotal in driving a positive outcome.

Solution
A series of materials was developed in partnership with the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS), focusing on increasing awareness of the specific signs of NS and, importantly, informing patients, carers and healthcare professionals of the immediate actions to be taken in the event of concern. The patient materials included a diary, fact-sheets, 'emergency contacts' card and a DVD featuring the multidisciplinary breast cancer clinical team and two patients. Materials produced for specialist oncology nurses included a 'meeting in a box' comprising an educational slide set and draft documents for the set up and management of local meetings, alongside a flip-chart to be used in discussion with patients.

Results
The UKONS regional leads for chemotherapy hosted meetings of their local cancer networks, bringing together their nursing colleagues, local oncologists and A&E personnel, as relevant. The current local process for the prevention and management of NS was discussed in detail and any weaknesses in the pathway were identified. A local action plan was agreed, addressing any necessary changes and discussing how the materials could best be used to optimise patient care in the locality.

As part of the education provided at each meeting, the group took part in an interactive workshop aiming to empower the nurse in leading the implementation of this initiative. Each action plan was implemented by the regional leads, resulting in a significant increase in awareness of NS prevention and management and a rise in sales of Taxotere.

Client verdict
"As a provider of innovative cancer medicines, sanofi-aventis is committed to ensuring the highest levels of patient safety and provision of support to healthcare professionals. While the toxicities that may be associated with the use of Taxotere are manageable, the company recognises the strategic imperative to proactively address this toxicity and how it could be prevented and managed.

"This educational campaign allowed us to go to the very heart of the issue and to communicate effectively with all those involved in ensuring patient safety. We have received continued, positive feedback from those nurses and their colleagues involved in the initiative and demand for the materials continues. The collaboration with UKONS ensured the credibility of this campaign and we are very proud of the outcomes."
Thomas Clarke, sanofi-aventis

Case study details

Client: sanofi-aventis oncology
Agency: Succinct Healthcare Communications
Campaign: Increasing awerness of neutropenic sepsis (NS)
Timescale: 2009 to 2010

21st April 2011

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