Nurse Awards

Patients benefit from home-testing of blood counts after chemotherapy 

A groundbreaking study assessing the feasibility of chemotherapy patients home-checking their blood counts using a medical device has been established and led by a team of nurses.

Elizabeth Wright and Suzanne RogersonElizabeth Wright and Suzanne Rogerson. Picture credit: John Houlihan

The work of the home-testing of blood counts post chemotherapy team at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has led to it becoming a finalist in the Excellence in Cancer Research category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2016.

The award, sponsored by Cancer Research UK, recognises and rewards the vital role that clinical research nurses play in helping to discover new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer and improve patient outcomes.

Senior research nurse Elizabeth Wright and her research nurse colleague Suzanne Rogerson worked with a variety of specialists to conduct a feasibility questionnaire survey of 107 oncology patients to discover their willingness to use the device and to explore their understanding of risk.

Elizabeth Wright and Suzanne RogersonElizabeth Wright and Suzanne Rogerson. Picture credit: John Houlihan

They collaborated on the project with healthcare professionals, primary care staff, a patient involvement group, academics and IT/web design specialists.

Through workshops, the team ensured the medical device’s designers understood the patients’ chemotherapy pathway and that it remained as patient-focused as possible. They then conducted qualitative research to capture the patient experience about device use by performing telephone questionnaires with the study participants.

Elizabeth Wright says: ‘Our patients receiving chemotherapy come from across the region and some live in rural areas. We believe home testing will significantly help clinical decision-making when the patient is unwell. It will also have a significant impact on the patients’ experience by reducing wasted hospital journeys. This is about empowering patients, giving them some control and supporting them through the process.’

She adds: ‘The team is proud and excited to be a finalist in the Excellence in Cancer Research category. We feel our work is important because we are central to the preparation for the medical device study. We have ensured that the study has been patient focused, and that it has involved professionals from health care, industry, academia and IT for the benefit of the study.

‘We hope the medical device will be used by patients at home in the future and will potentially mean that patients feel more in control, knowing that it enables early identification of a low white cell count, and reduces journeys to and from hospital.’

About the sponsor

Cancer Research UKCancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. It is committed to improving the lives of those affected by cancer and discovering kinder, more effective treatments for patients. Cancer Research UK supports more than 250 clinical trials across the UK, helping to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. Joining a clinical trial may have benefits for patients, as well as helping new treatments become available. Its unique clinical trials database lists all trials around the UK supported by Cancer Research UK and others. Searchable by trial name, cancer type or location, the database includes details of trials recruiting patients, as well as results from earlier trials. Written specifically for patients, it provides reliable, easy to understand information and is updated daily. Visit the clinical trials database at CRUK.org/trials.