An Early Evaluation Study Testing Nurse-led Follow-up Care for Head and Neck Cancer Patients
Background: After treatment for cancer, follow-up surveillance is regarded important. In
head and neck cancer patients however, increasing research evidence shows that at least the
goal of detecting recurrence of cancer during routine control visits in an asymptomatic
stage is not achieved. Other goals of follow-up such as management of treatment
complications and helping patients and families cope and adjust remain important and ask for
an accurate, effective but tailored and sensitive approach. Increasingly, nurses are
mentioned as care providers best suited to perform this task.
Aim: The purpose of this study is to conduct an early evaluation of a nurse-led follow up
intervention added to the usual medically oriented follow up care. Besides evaluating the
feasibility and acceptability to patients, the effect on psychosocial adjustment and quality
of life of patients is determined.
Methods and design: A quasi-experimental prospective design is used. Two groups of patients
are enrolled consecutively (n=160) and patient data are collected at baseline (T0), at 6(T1)
and at 12(T2) months respectively. The duration of the intervention is defined to the first
year of follow up. Participating nurses are trained prior to the recruitment of the
intervention group and receive supervision and individual coaching during the entire
duration of the intervention phase.
Outcome measures: Primary outcome, psychosocial adjustment to illness. Secondary outcomes,
health related quality of life, psychosocial problems, and usage of care.
Allocation: Non-Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Psychosocial adjustment to Illness
Psychosocial adjustment can be viewed as an outcome of coping strategies used by patients to deal with the distress and aftermath of treatment and illness.
T van Achterberg, PhD
Netherlands: The Central Committee on Research Involving Human Subjects (CCMO)