This randomised controlled trial (RTC) will evaluate the impact of a shared care clinical pathway intervention designed to support chemotherapy outpatients. The clinical pathway provides care within a multi-disciplinary team consisting of generalist community nurses, the patient’s GP and cancer centre staff. The study aims to:
- Reduce the number of unplanned presentations to hospital by chemotherapy outpatients;
- Improve chemotherapy outpatients’ physical and psychosocial health outcomes (quality of life);
- Quantify costs and outcomes associated with this class of intervention and to evaluate its cost effectiveness.
The intervention involves a set number of timed, standardised community nurse visits during the patient’s first three chemotherapy cycles and the transfer of information between community nurses, the cancer centre and GPs via fax. The community nurses’ responsibilities will be: (i) facilitating early identification of side effects; (ii) ongoing management of side effects in consultation with the GP and cancer centre and; (iii) reinforcing education and supporting self-management strategies.
General practitioners who have patients recruited to the study will be notified by the researchers and will be provided with further information on the study.