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Health advisor facilitated mouth care regime for patients with head and neck cancers undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy

  • J. Stringer (a1), R. Knowles (a1), C. Finchett (a1), P. Mackereth (a1), J. Mannan (a1) and N. Slevin (a1)...

Abstract

Aim

To develop a regime of care for patients with head and neck cancers undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), with the support of a health advisor (HA) and temporary access to the mouth care product Caphosol™.

Materials and methods

A HA was temporarily employed to assess, monitor and refer patients as appropriate and ensure patients received and utilised supplies of Caphosol™. A retrospective audit was undertaken to provide a gap analysis of current service. The data were used to develop a pro forma for documenting assessments and monitoring lifestyle factors for IMRT patients. Assessments referrals and compliance, plus hospital admissions owing to treatment-related issues, were documented during the baseline audit and the temporary HA service and provision of Caphosol™.

Results

The presence of a HA facilitated 100% compliance with appropriate assessments, referrals and adherence to treatment. The data suggests that the additional provision of Caphosol™ may have reduced levels of mucositis and associated pain.

Conclusion

It is recommended that a HA role be established within radiotherapy departments to facilitate lifestyle assessments, referrals and compliance with positive behaviour changes (e.g., stopping smoking). The use of Caphosol™ as a routine part of mouth care regime for IMRT patients also warrants further investigation.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Rebecca Knowles, Complementary Therapy Department, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, 550 Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester, Greater Manchester M20 4BX, UK. Tel: 0161 918 7027. Fax: 0161 446 3940. E-mail: rebecca.knowles@christie.nhs.uk

References

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