A Nurse-Driven, Exercise-Based Intervention for Patients with Cancer-Related Fatigue when Severe Fatigue Interferes with Daily Activity
Cancer affects more than 1 million people each year. Of all of the symptoms related to cancer, the most frequently experienced is fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is an extreme tiredness that contributes to morbidity and mortality due to resulting inactivity. Extreme inactivity related to CRF may cause severe complications affecting multiple body systems. The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) recommends exercise as the only evidence-based intervention shown to be significant for CRF. The purpose of this project was to provide a nurse-driven, exercise-based intervention to combat severe CRF. The site was an oncology out-patient clinic of a 247 bed Magnet hospital in Providence, RI; no specific intervention for oncology patients with fatigue levels >4/10 was in place. A program development project was developed that included creating a brochure for patients targeted at CRF, revising clinic treatment sheets for easy intervention documentation, and educating the nurses by means of in-services regarding the project. Nurses’ knowledge regarding CRF, when to use the brochure and how to document it improved after the in-service. Potentially, receiving the CRF brochure will enable patients to appropriately manage their fatigue at home. Long term follow up related to the impact of the CRF program on Press Ganey fatigue education scores is indicated.