+ Importance of ongoing patient assessment
- Radiation therapists have daily contact with their patients; therefore, they have the opportunity to build relationships over the continuum of care and gain understanding of the patient’s requirements and preferences for care.
- This contact allows close observation of the patient’s progress through their treatment and opportunity to continually and systematically:1
- Assess signs, symptoms, and well-being
- Recommend interventions
- Evaluate the effectiveness of interventions
- Follow up
- Effective patient assessment in a radiation therapy setting has been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes.2
+ Ongoing assessment in practice
- Radiation therapists are responsible for assessing each patient daily prior to, during and after treatment delivery.3,4
- The assessment should be factual and objective while incorporating the patient’s self-reported symptoms
- Information is gathered from the patient through observation and inquiry
- A systematic, site specific assessment is essential
- A daily assessment of patients includes (but is not limited to) assessment of:3,4
- Side effects
- Emotional well-being
- Informational needs
- The specific elements and actions taken to assess a patient are bounded and defined by the Radiation therapist’s scope of practice.
- Radiation therapists initiate contact, make referrals, follow up and document when patients require referral to other healthcare providers.
- All information received from and given to the patient is thoroughly documented in the patient’s radiation treatment record.
- Prior to daily treatment delivery, Radiation therapists review the patient’s radiation treatment record for notes from the healthcare team
- Evidence-based validated toxicity scoring tools are recommended for use in addition to descriptive patient care notes
- All actions taken by Radiation therapists are also documented.
- Washington C, Leaver D. Principles and Practices of Radiation Therapy, 3rd ed. St. Lois, MO: Mosby; 2010.
- Gagliardi AR, Dobrow MJ, Wright FC. How can we improve cancer care? A review of interprofessional collaboration models and their use in clinical management. Surg Oncol 2011;20(3):146-154.
- Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. Radiation Therapy Competency Profile. Revised January 2011. Available at: http://www.camrt.ca/certification/canadian/competencyprofiles/TH%20Comp%20Prof%202006.pdf. AccessedMay 3, 2013.
- American Society of Radiologic Technologists. The Practice Standards for Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy: Radiation Therapy Practice Standards. Available at: http://www.asrt.org/docs/practice-standards/GR11_RT_PS.pdf. Accessed February 22, 2013.