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A Nursing Intervention for Reducing Symptom Burden During Chemotherapy


Annemarie Coolbrandt
Hans Wildiers
Annouschka Laenen
Bert Aertgeerts
Bernadette Dierckx de Casterlé
Theo van Achterberg
Koen Milisen
ONF 2018, 45(1), 115-128 DOI: 10.1188/18.ONF.115-128

Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy of an individually tailored nursing intervention for reducing chemotherapy-related symptom distress in adult patients with cancer. 


Sample & Setting: A control group (n = 71) received usual care and an intervention group (n = 72) received usual care and the CHEMO-SUPPORT intervention, all at the University Hospitals of Leuven in Belgium.


Methods & Variables: The intervention effect was evaluated by measuring the difference in outcomes between the two groups. The primary outcome, overall symptom distress, and other symptom-related outcomes were self-reported at the start of treatment (baseline) and at 3, 6, and 12 weeks.


Results: The CHEMO-SUPPORT intervention showed significantly less worsening of overall symptom distress and severity. Self-efficacy and outcome expectations (measured at six weeks) were significantly higher in the intervention group. Self-care (measured at 12 weeks) was statistically similar between the two groups. The results emphasize the importance of nurses in coaching patients to adequately self-manage their symptoms at home.


Implications for Nursing: Providing goal-directed self-management support using motivational interviewing as well as tailoring are promising areas for reducing chemotherapy-related symptom distress.

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