Walgreens Presentation At Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress Examines Therapy Benefits Of Home Nutrition Support For Patients With Cancer
Certain patients with cancer at risk for malnutrition may improve survival rates, response to treatment and quality of life by receiving nutrition therapy at home, according to information in a Walgreens Infusion Services’(NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) presentation today at the Oncology Nursing Society’s 38th Annual Congress in Washington, D.C.1,2
In patients with cancer, malnutrition may cause more severe treatment side effects, added risk of infection and reduced response to treatment, negatively impacting quality of life and survival rates.3,4 Accordingly, both forms of nutrition therapy – intravenous parenteral nutrition (PN) and tube-delivered enteral nutrition (EN) – are important components of comprehensive care for many cancer patients.
Approximately 40,000 PN patients and 344,000 EN patients each year receive nutrition therapy safely at home and avoid the risk of exposure to hospital-acquired infections5-6; and this patient population includes cancer patients. For example, Walgreens Infusion Services home nutrition data over a six-month period shows that cancer patients comprised 13.1 percent of PN patients and 10.4 percent of adult EN patients.2
“The American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition recommends care including nutrition screening and frequent assessment for cancer patients, and early initiation of nutrition therapy when deficits are identified,” said Noreen Luszcz, RD, MBA, CNSC, Walgreens Infusion Services nutrition program director. “Nutrition support can be a vital part of a cancer patients’ care plan, and we’re able to provide these services to patients in their homes. Our staff dietitians work closely with each patient’s physician, pharmacist and nurse to evaluateand proactively monitor their therapy and deliver personalized care.”
Research suggests malnourished cancer patients are more likely to benefit if they receive nutrition support before they become severely malnourished.1,3,7,8 A result of severe malnutrition, cachexia (wasting) causes an estimated 20 to 40 percent of cancer deaths.9 By the time they are diagnosed, 80 percent of upper gastrointestinal cancer patients and 60 percent of lung cancer patients have lost a significant amount of weight.10
Multidisciplinary home nutrition support teams, which should include nurses, dietitians and pharmacists, can be effective in optimizing both clinical and financial outcomes for these patients.11 These clinicians implement physician treatment plans designed to help maintain independence and improve quality of life, and are poised to quickly identify therapy complications and intervene to address them with the guidance of the patient’s physician.