Purpose/Objectives: To collect baseline measurements before the implementation of interventions associated with the AIM (Assessment Information Management) Higher Initiative—a quality improvement program intended to improve symptom assessment, management, and information distribution for five chemotherapy-related symptom groups: anemia, neutropenia, diarrhea and constipation, nausea and vomiting, and depression and anxiety.
Design: Subject telephone interviews and chart reviews.
Setting: 15 community oncology clinics in the United States.
Sample: 376 adult patients with cancer who visited a healthcare provider before the start of a chemotherapy cycle; patients were enrolled in the study after the initiation of chemotherapy, with at least one chemotherapy cycle remaining.
Methods: Subject interviews and chart reviews to determine the frequency, assessment, and management of and information about target symptoms.
Main Research Variables: The frequency of target chemotherapyrelated symptoms and occurrence of symptom-specific assessment, information provided, and management.
Findings: The five target symptoms had occurred in a considerable proportion of patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy during their most recent chemotherapy cycles. At a substantial number of clinic visits, no documentation of cancer-related symptom assessment, information distribution, or management occurred.
Conclusions: Chemotherapy-related symptoms occur frequently but often are not assessed, managed, or handled with appropriate patient information.
Implications for Nursing: Findings in the baseline evaluation illustrate the need to improve supportive care—a key responsibility of oncology nurses.