Publications by authors named "Elizabeth L Hammerstrand"

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Ensuring head and neck oncology patients receive recommended pretreatment dental evaluations.

J Oncol Pract 2015 Mar 27;11(2):151-4. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

Brigham and Women's Hospital; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Center for Clinical Excellence, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; and Center for Oncology Care at Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, NY.

Purpose: Head and neck (H&N) cancer therapy can have a detrimental effect on oral health by increasing the risk of dry mouth, dental caries, dental infection, and osteonecrosis of the jaw. Pretreatment dental evaluations are recommended for patients with H&N cancer before radiation therapy to minimize the risk of acute and long-term adverse effects. In an earlier effort to educate patients and community dentists about the importance of pretreatment dental evaluations, we created a dental instructional guide (DIG) that outlines the necessary components of the preradiation dental evaluation. Yet our program did not have a system for documenting which patients received the DIG. The aim of this project was to create a reliable system to ensure that patients are given the DIG before radiation therapy and that such patients are readily identifiable, allowing us to confirm that their dental evaluations are complete before starting treatment.

Methods: We implemented a tracking template within the H&N oncology program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that documents the date, patient, and clinician who gave the DIG. We used the Model for Improvement methodology and performed plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles to test and monitor the results of the template implementation.

Results: We showed a significant improvement in the rate of DIG documentation from a baseline of 0% (range, 0% to 0%) to a mean of 53% (range, 0% to 100%) over 3 months (P < .01).

Conclusion: This intervention was the first step in creating a sustainable system for ensuring timely preradiation dental evaluation, thereby decreasing the risk of dental complications from H&N cancer therapy.
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March 2015