Metastatic spinal cord compression: a poster and mnemonic supporting acute hospital staff to deliver optimal patient care
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Metastatic spinal cord compression: a poster and mnemonic supporting acute hospital staff to deliver optimal patient care

Sophie Needham Acute oncology clinical nurse specialist, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Southport, England
Julie Marshall Acute oncology clinical nurse specialist, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Southport, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of metastatic spinal cord compression diagnosis and management

  • To learn about a resource developed to support acute hospital staff to recognise and manage metastatic spinal cord compression

  • To be aware of the results of an audit evaluating the effects of the resource on patient care and staff adherence to guidance

Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) occurs when metastatic disease causes vertebral collapse or compression of the spinal cord or when a tumour extends into the epidural space. It is an oncological emergency which will cause paralysis if left untreated. It is crucial that acute hospital staff recognise ‘red flag’ signs and symptoms of MSCC and adhere to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on MSCC recognition and management.

In 2019, a serious untoward incident involving a patient with confirmed MSCC was reported at an acute trust in England. This prompted the acute oncology team to examine the management of patients with MSCC at the hospital. A poster and mnemonic highlighting the main NICE recommendations were developed and distributed to all acute wards and areas. This article describes how that resource was developed and how the acute oncology team assessed its effects by conducting a two-phase retrospective and prospective audit.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1823

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

@sophiemac432

Correspondence

s.needham1@nhs.net

Conflict of interest

None declared

Needham S, Marshall J (2022) Metastatic spinal cord compression: a poster and mnemonic supporting acute hospital staff to deliver optimal patient care. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1823

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Michelle Roberts, acute oncology team secretary, Dale Ankers, senior audit and effectiveness officer, and the audit team at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust for supporting data collection and analysis

Published online: 08 August 2022

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