Study examines NC cancer patient emergency department visits


Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN

When cancer patients experience medical problems, they may visit emergency departments, but how often and for what reasons, there is little data.

A first-ever study of emergency room use by oncology patients in North Carolina was published in the May 23, 2011 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Authors hope the study can give them information so that they can target clinical problems to improve delivery of quality cancer care, thus avoiding emergency room visits.

Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, associate professor of nursing in the UNC School of Nursing, study lead author, said, “While some cancer patients develop acute problems that do require a visit to the emergency department, some visits might be avoided with better symptom management.” Mayer is a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Video: Dr. Deborah Mayer Speaks about Elizabeth Edwards

Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN

Deborah Mayer, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN


School of Nursing Associate Professor Dr. Deborah Mayer  was interviewed by the local ABC station about Elizabeth Edwards. Her comments are at about 6:07 in the video (around 7:44 on the counter at the bottom). Dr. Mayer is advanced practice oncology nurse who has consulted with organizations on issues to improve cancer care and has over 30 years of cancer nursing practice, education, research, and management experience.

 See the ABC 11 video here.

American Cancer Society Funds Simplified Survivorship Care Plan

Now cancer survivors will be better able to plan for their future care using a document that will be developed by Professor Deborah K. Mayer, PhD, RN through a grant provided by the SouthAtlantic Division of the American Cancer Society.  “Evaluation of Preferences for Survivorship Care Plans” will include a treatment summary and Survivor Care Plan document.

Cancer survivorship care represents a distinct phase of the cancer care trajectory and includes four components of care. Providing cancer survivors and their primary care provider with a document (a Survivor Care Plan) that includes a treatment summary and care plan is one component of survivorship care. There are a range of available SCP templates available but many are complex and very detailed. The overall aim of this pilot study is to explore survivor and primary care provider preferences regarding the content, format, and delivery mode of treatment summary care plans.


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