Evaluation of a specialized oncology nursing supportive care intervention in newly diagnosed breast and colorectal cancer patients following surgery: a cluster randomized trial
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BACKGROUND: Better coordination of supportive services during the early phases of cancer care has been proposed to improve the care experience of patients. We conducted a randomized trial to test a community-based nurse-led coordination of care intervention in cancer patients. METHODS: Surgical practices were cluster randomized to a control group involving usual care practices or a standardized nursing intervention consisting of an in-person supportive care assessment with ongoing support to meet identified needs, including linkage to community services. Newly diagnosed breast and colorectal cancer patients within 7 days of cancer surgery were eligible. The primary outcome was the patient-reported outcome (PRO) of continuity of care (CCCQ) measured at 3 weeks. Secondary outcomes included unmet supportive care needs (SCNS), quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30), health resource utilization, and level of uncertainty with care trajectory (MUIS) at 3 and/or 8 weeks. RESULTS: A total of 121 breast and 72 colorectal patients were randomized through 28 surgical practices. There was a small improvement in the informational domain of continuity of care (difference 0.29 p = 0.05) and a trend to less emergency room use (15.8 vs 7.1%) (p = 0.07). There were no significant differences between groups on unmet need, quality of life, or uncertainty. CONCLUSION: We did not find substantial gaps in the PROs measured immediately following surgery for breast and colorectal cancer patients. The results of this study support a more targeted approach based on need and inform future research focused on improving navigation during the initial phases of cancer treatment. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00182234. SONICS-Effectiveness of Specialist Oncology Nursing.
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