Clinical trials in oncology have been greatly influenced by COVID-19, but even before the pandemic, there were many assumptions and myths surrounding clinical trials. On Wednesday, December 2, Senior Director of Education and Program Development of AONN+ Emily Gentry, BSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, OCN; and panelists Leah Szumita, MS, RN, CCRN, ACNS-BC; Ashley Giacobbi, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, AOCNS; and Mary Van Cleave, BSN, RN, OCN, discussed the impact of COVID-19 on clinical trials and the barriers patients face when enrolling in trials.
Oncology and nurse navigator responsibilities have shifted for many during this time, as staff are pulled into different roles to support their facility. In this discussion, panelists offered their perspectives of the effects of COVID-19 and clinical trials, and offered tips, as we move forward into a new surge of COVID-19 cases.
Here’s a quick recap of the top 3 takeaways from the discussion.
- Before the pandemic, patients with cancer experienced fear of the unknown when clinical trial options were presented to them. In addition to these fears, patients faced logistical barriers such as travel, childcare, and financial worries, that may not arise during traditional care.
- In the early days of the pandemic, sites paused enrollment and recruitment for cancer clinical trials, and we are still waiting to see how the most recent surge in cases will impact trials. A positive that has come out of the pandemic is the use of telemedicine. Many patients have been able to seek virtual consults and second opinions on clinical trials. Because these visits are done virtually, the burden of financial toxicity and travel is relieved.
- The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Clinical Trial Support Center assists patients and family caregivers in their clinical trial journey. The Center starts by learning about a patient’s treatment goals and then educates them on clinical trials and conducts a clinical assessment. After this is complete, they search for appropriate trials while the patient discusses the clinical assessment with their healthcare provider. The Center then connects with a trial, helps the patient overcome any obstacles, and enrolls the patient.
Join the conversation during our next Navigate Now: How Can We Help? Facebook Live event on the Navigation Models, Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm ET.