Grant Application

Lanie Francis, MD, and Danielle Petrina, MEd, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Proposed Innovation

Integrative oncology incorporates complementary therapies and other services into conventional cancer care to address treatment side effects and stress that can affect a patient’s quality of life. It embraces the whole person — mind, body, and spirit — to promote health and wellness.

The Wellness and Integrative Oncology Nurse Ambassador program has been successful in improving the patient experience by training nurses in the use of integrative techniques — movement, touch, nutrition, and mindfulness. This project expands on the program by focusing on equipping nurse ambassadors with the resources needed to teach patients how to find and use these techniques outside the hospital setting.

Improvements in Action

Through this project, the UPMC CancerCenter’s Wellness and Integrative Oncology mobile website will be updated and expanded to provide patients with online access to a clear and concise collection of vetted resources and strategies they can use in a variety of environments. Information — such as yoga videos, books about sleep quality, and applications for guided meditation — will be organized in the areas of movement, touch, nutrition, and mindfulness.

In addition, nurse ambassadors will be trained to recognize problematic symptoms, such as insomnia and joint pain, and work with patients at the bedside to help them explore the integrative strategies and resources available in the online collection to address them.

Results – In Progress

A multidisciplinary team — including a physician, advanced practice provider, and nursing, pharmacy, and social work staff, as well as a patient representative — will be created to vet resources and meet quarterly over a 12-month period to monitor the project. In addition, guidelines established by the Society of Integrative Oncology will be used to evaluate nurse recognition of fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia, and measure correlation to evidence based integrative therapies. Nurse leadership skills and patient experience also will be measured.