Identifying clinical practice guidelines for symptom control in pediatric oncology
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BACKGROUND: Children with cancer commonly experience distressing symptoms such as pain, fatigue and nausea. Improvements in patient outcomes have been associated with implementation of clinical practice guideline-consistent care across several domains. The objective of this study was to develop a process to identify symptom management clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) applicable to children and adolescents receiving cancer treatments. METHODS: We focused on identifying CPGs to manage 15 symptoms. The process defined three Tiers of CPGs based upon applicability to pediatric cancer patients and ease of identification: Tier 1: endorsed by the Children's Oncology Group; Tier 2: housed in the Emergency Care Research Institute repository, or developed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology or National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; and Tier 3: identified by systematic review. We first searched for CPGs published 2015-2020 and identified Tiers 1 or 2 CPGs. If unavailable or scope was too narrow, we proceeded to Tier 3. If CPGs were not identified, we repeated these steps for CPGs published 2010-2014. RESULTS: There were six Tier 1 and 13 Tier 2 CPGs published 2015-2020 across the 15 symptoms. Four symptoms required progression to Tier 3 because CPGs were absent (anger) or because scope was too narrow (pain, anorexia/excessive hunger and diarrhea). The systematic review identified three CPGs for pain and none for the other three symptoms. In total, CPGs were identified for 14 of 15 symptoms. None were identified for anger. CONCLUSION: We created a process to identify supportive care CPGs for pediatric cancer symptom management and were able to identify CPGs that addressed 14 of 15 symptoms. Future work should focus on evaluating implementation techniques for these CPGs and determining the impact of these CPGs on provider and patient outcomes.
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