Raising awareness of neutropenic sepsis risk in ambulatory patients
Anne Higgins Haemato-oncology clinical nurse specialist, St Helier Hospital, Surrey
Oncology patients, in particular haemato-oncology patients receiving ambulatory chemotherapy, are at risk of morbidity and mortality from neutropenic sepsis and septic shock as a result of their treatment or disease. These patients require specific education and information about the signs and symptoms of infection and whom to contact should a problem occur. Once infection is suspected, rapid diagnosis, prompt clinical intervention and management are required to ensure a positive outcome. This article describes how an alert card was designed to provide information to patients and healthcare professionals to reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality in this patient group. The aims and objectives of this card are to streamline the care pathway, to aid swift access to treatment and to prescribe a series of immediate actions to be taken in certain circumstances. The card has been in use in the South West London Cancer Network for two years and a recent network patient survey confirmed a high level of satisfaction with it.
Cancer Nursing Practice. 7, 9,34-38. doi: 10.7748/cnp2008.11.7.9.34.c6775