Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nurse navigators help cancer patients cope early in care

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
Group Health Research Institute
Summary:
When patients received support from a nurse navigator, or advocate, soon after a cancer diagnosis, they had better experiences and fewer problems with their care -- particularly in health information, care coordination, and psychological and social care -- according to a randomized controlled trial.

When Group Health patients received support from a nurse navigator, or advocate, soon after a cancer diagnosis, they had better experiences and fewer problems with their care -- particularly in health information, care coordination, and psychological and social care -- according to a randomized controlled trial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Related Articles


Patients with a nurse navigator reported feeling better supported emotionally and more involved in their care. They also said they were better informed and more prepared for the future. And they tended to feel that the health care team had gone out of their way to make them feel better emotionally.

"Hearing that you have cancer is so difficult," said lead author Ed Wagner, MD, MPH, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute and director emeritus of the Institute's MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation. Right after a cancer diagnosis, patients and their families often need extra help: with information, translating medical jargon, psychological and social support, and coordinating care from various health providers. That's what Dr. Wagner learned earlier from studying the perspectives of patients, families, providers, and experts around the country.

"It makes sense that patients would benefit from having a single point person devoted to providing support and coordination of services," said Dr. Wagner's coauthor Ruth McCorkle, PhD, RN, the Florence Schorske Wald professor of nursing at Yale School of Nursing and a professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health. "Oncology nurse navigator programs are proliferating across the country, but they are highly variable because there hasn't been much rigorous evidence."

In this randomized controlled trial, half of the 251 adult patients newly diagnosed with cancer were assigned to an oncology nurse navigator to help them for four months. Starting two weeks after the diagnosis, the nurse navigator initiated weekly phone calls and contacted each patient an average of 18 times, including meeting in person at least once with each patient: for instance, accompanying them to a doctor's appointment.

The other group of the patients received "enhanced usual care" consisting of educational material designed by a patient advisory committee. Most (190) of the patients had breast cancer, but 30 had lung and 31 had colon or rectal cancer. Patient-reported outcomes were measured at baseline, four months, and one year.

Some of the differences between the groups persisted for eight months after patients' last contact with a nurse navigator. "That suggests that the nurse navigators helped patients to develop the confidence and skills to manage their illness and treatment more effectively," Dr. Wagner said. "This is important because it's crucial for patients to be involved in their care and self-care."

Overall costs of health care, including the costs of the intervention, didn't rise at all with the nurse navigator intervention -- and in lung cancer patients, they might have actually declined. No overall changes were detected in patients' quality of life or depression. "That might have been because our patients had high quality of life to start with," Dr. Wagner said, "and our way of measuring that might not have been sensitive enough."

The oncology nurse navigators had experience with cancer patients, received special training to deal with psychosocial distress, and were familiar with the Group Health system. "Our system tends to be better coordinated than average in the United States," Dr. Wagner said. "Further research is needed to see how well nurse navigation works in more fragmented care systems -- and whether it can reduce the costs of cancer care."

Group Health was so impressed with this work that it has already incorporated an oncology nurse navigator into usual care for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer at its Capitol Hill campus -- even before the research was published.

Also, the Group Health Foundation has awarded a Partnership for Innovation grant to Drs. Wagner and McCorkle's coauthor Evette J. Ludman, PhD, a senior research associate at Group Health Research Institute, to implement and evaluate a peer support program for women with breast cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Group Health Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. H. Wagner, E. J. Ludman, E. J. Aiello Bowles, R. Penfold, R. J. Reid, C. M. Rutter, J. Chubak, R. McCorkle. Nurse Navigators in Early Cancer Care: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2013; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2013.51.7359

Cite This Page:

Group Health Research Institute. "Nurse navigators help cancer patients cope early in care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125164444.htm>.
Group Health Research Institute. (2013, November 25). Nurse navigators help cancer patients cope early in care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125164444.htm
Group Health Research Institute. "Nurse navigators help cancer patients cope early in care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125164444.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins