As patients with cancer increasingly obtain health education from the Internet, and one in three Americans turn to the Internet to diagnose a medical condition, a recent paper published in the August issue of the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) discusses a website developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation that may prove to be an effective way to provide cancer patients and caregivers with information to prevent infections during their chemotherapy treatment.
The paper highlights the goal of the website: empower patients and their caregivers with the knowledge and skills to recognize the signs and symptoms of infection so they can take actions to seek care for this life-threatening condition.
This website is part of a larger CDC initiative that highlights the critical need for increased attention to and oversight of infection control. As part of its Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program, the CDC developed the following tools:
• A Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings. This plan is tailored to these settings outlining key policies and procedures needed to meet minimal requirements for patient safety. Outpatient oncology facilities without an existing plan are encouraged to use this document as a starting point.
• Website for cancer patients and caregivers that is the subject of the CJON article: PreventCancerInfections.org. This site features an evidence-based, interactive online program designed to help assess a cancer patient’s risk for developing both a low white blood cell count during chemotherapy and subsequent infections. The website also features a variety of educational resources, including health tip sheets on a variety of topics.
• Educational materials for patients, caregivers, and doctors including posters, brochures and videos.