Receptivity to a Nurse-Led Symptom Management Intervention among Highly Symptomatic Patients with Cancer

Grant A. Wintheiser, Kathryn J. Ruddy, Jeph Herrin, Parvez A. Rahman, Deirdre R. Pachman, Aaron L. Leppin, Lila J.Finney Rutten, Minji K. Lee, Joan M. Griffin, Cindy Tofthagen, Linda L. Chlan, Jennifer L. Ridgeway, Sandra A. Mitchell, Andrea L. Cheville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The symptom burden associated with cancer and its treatment can negatively affect patients' quality of life and survival. Symptom-focused collaborative care model (CCM) interventions can improve outcomes, but only if patients engage with them. We assessed the receptivity of severely symptomatic oncology patients to a remote nurse-led CCM intervention. Methods: In a pragmatic, cluster-randomized, stepped-wedge trial conducted as part of the National Cancer Institute IMPACT Consortium (E2C2, NCT03892967), patients receiving cancer care were asked to rate their sleep disturbance, pain, anxiety, emotional distress, fatigue, and limitations in physical function. Patients reporting at least 1 severe symptom (≥7/10) were offered phone consultation with a nurse symptom care manager (RN SCM). Initially, patients had to "opt-in"to receive a call, but the protocol was later modified so they had to "opt-out"if they did not want a call. We assessed the impact of opt-in vs opt-out framing and patient characteristics on receptiveness to RN SCM calls. All statistical tests were 2-sided. Results: Of the 1204 symptom assessments (from 864 patients) on which at least 1 severe symptom was documented, 469 (39.0%) indicated receptivity to an RN SCM phone call. The opt-out period (odds ratio [OR] = 1.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12 to 2.32, P =. 01), receiving care at a tertiary care center (OR = 3.59, 95% CI = 2.18 to 5.91, P <. 001), and having severe pain (OR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.24 to 2.62, P =. 002) were associated with statistically significantly greater willingness to receive a call. Conclusions: Many severely symptomatic patients were not receptive to an RN SCM phone call. Better understanding of reasons for refusal and strategies for improving patient receptivity are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-466
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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