Purpose/Objectives: To describe factors related to taste changes, to examine patients' use of a self-care suggestion sheet to manage taste changes associated with chemotherapy, and to identify potentially useful strategies for managing specific taste changes after chemotherapy.
Design: Quasi-experimental, pre/post design.
Setting: Four outpatient urban and suburban oncology centers in Illinois.
Sample: 42 patients who had received at least two cycles of chemotherapy previously identified to be associated with taste changes.
Methods: Pre- and postintervention survey of taste changes; patient education regarding self-care for taste changes.
Main Research Variables: Taste changes, taste change strategies, and self-care.
Findings: Most patients that reported taste changes had affected their ability to eat. Taste changes and strategies varied somewhat according to chemotherapy regimen. Avoiding strong-smelling or -tasting foods, eating blander foods, drinking more water with foods, oral care before eating, and eating smaller, more frequent meals were reported to help.
Conclusions: Taste changes are common in patients receiving cisplatin, carboplatin, or cyclophosphamide. At-risk patients may benefit from prechemotherapy teaching regarding specific taste change management suggestions. Use of a taste change suggestion sheet encouraged self-care, and counseling patients regarding strategies to deal with taste changes may help them during chemotherapy.
Implications for Nursing: Nurses should incorporate patient education tools that promote self-care regarding the management of taste changes in patients with known factors that could affect taste early in their chemotherapy.
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