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Development of guidelines for the management of cancer related fatigue
  1. S Eng and
  2. G Velikova
  1. St James's Institute of Oncology, St James's Hospital, Leeds, UK

Abstract

Introduction Cancer related fatigue (CRF) is a common symptom that is neither formally assessed not actively addressed. Despite a plethora of tools available for measuring fatigue, there is a lack of a clear pathway for its management.

Aims To develop guidelines for management of fatigue to be used together with a computerised touch screen system for patients to report fatigue.

Method A literature review was conducted on management of CRF. This was followed by a series of individual meetings with physiotherapists (3), dieticians (2) sleep physicians (2), sleep nurse (1), providers of complementary therapists (4) to ascertain referral criteria and types of local services available for cancer patients with fatigue. Informal meetings with SHOs (2), consultant oncologists (2) and nurses (11) helped ascertain current management strategies.

Results There is a paucity of knowledge surrounding the management of CRF, and a lack of awareness of available services. A local guideline was developed as an aide memoire for medical oncologists and nurses. Information is presented in sections with assessment questions to determine the level of fatigue, prompts for biologic assessments and its corresponding management. A traffic light system is used to represent severity of fatigue, matching it with available services and information, contact details, referral criteria and structured advice on diet, exercise and sleep.

Conclusion The guidelines will be used as part of a resource package for training doctors and will be available in outpatient clinics.

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