The chemotherapy preparation cycle: establishing a patient information policy at Limoges University Hospital
Following some complaints from patients about delays in receiving their anticancer medication, in early the pharmacy team of the Anticancer Drug Preparation Unit suggested providing patients with information on the preparation cycle of chemotherapy in the hospital, from the doctor’s prescription through to administration.
The key element in this information process is a personal interview with a specially-trained non-resident pharmacist. During this meeting, which will take place on the ward, an information leaflet will be explained and presented to the patient. This A5-format document is intended to explain the advantages of the centralised pharmacy unit, and the need for a certain time delay in order to ensure optimal quality of the drugs prepared. Patients are thus prepared for the fact that they may have to wait before receiving treatment. At the end of the interview the patients are given a feedback questionnaire, in order to help us assess the impact of the information policy and improve the information document.
00 leaflets and questionnaires were distributed between April 6th and June 6th 2009. The rate of response from patients was 50%. Of these responses:
- 60% were not previously aware of the roles played by pharmacists and preparation technicians in the formulation of their chemotherapy treatments
- 36% did not think that monitoring tests were necessary after every stage of the preparation process
- 96% declared themselves “reassured” and 94% “fully informed” after reading the leaflet.
75% said that reading the leaflet had allowed them to communicate more effectively with medical staff.
These initial results are encouraging, and show that this project fills a gap in the patient information process, particularly concerning the role of pharmacists in the monitoring of prescription and preparation of anticancer drugs. It is important that we expand this information policy to all adult departments, and potentially to the paediatric haematology-oncology department. The team is currently planning a more informal information document which would use other media.