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Leading Practice: Breast Toxicity Management

Although many of our efforts received high praise from the surveyors during our accreditation survey in September 2010, one project in particular received national attention.

Breast Toxicity Management at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre was recognized as a leading practice.

What Does This Mean?
According to Accreditation Canada, “Leading practices are commendable or exemplary organizational practices that demonstrate high quality leadership and service delivery.”

Leading Practices...
  • are creative and innovative
  • demonstrate efficiency in practice
  • are linked to Accreditation Canada standards
  • are adaptable by other organizations
Understanding the Program
At the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, adjuvant breast cancer patients are offered clinical pharmacy services to identify and resolve the adverse drug events (ADEs) caused by their chemotherapy treatments.

Chemotherapy, while necessary for some breast cancer patients, has many negative impacts on the health and emotional wellness of patients. Dr. Kara Laing, Clinical Chief of the Cancer Program, sees those impacts everyday.

“It is very important for our patients to receive their chemotherapy at full dose and on time for the best possible outcomes,” says Laing. “We want to minimize the short and long term toxicities that they may experience as much as we can.”

So, Pharmacist Dr. Scott Edwards and his colleagues saw an opportunity to look more closely into how careful monitoring of toxicity during treatment may improve the quality of life for cancer patients.

The Cancer Centre uses a team approach to care, and the pharmacist is an important member of the care team, working with the doctors, nurses, care providers and patients to minimize the negative impacts of treatment.

The team did a study to measure the impact of the oncology pharmacist toxicity program by measuring the number of pharmacy interventions and to see what the most common interventions were.

Positive Results
According to Edwards, the study findings highlight the importance of this team in identifying potential drug-related problems, enhancing patient safety and helping to ensure patients receive the most effective dose of chemotherapy with minimal adverse effects.

“The study provided the framework for our current model of pharmacy care, which is focused on reducing the adverse effects of chemotherapy by having the oncology pharmacists working as integral members of the Dr H. Bliss Murphy Oncology team."

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Updated Apr 8, 2013