The new nurse triage phone line assists patients in quickly managing symptoms associated with their current cancer treatment.
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Carson Tahoe Cancer Center, an affiliate of Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, recently added a nurse triage line to provide symptom management to established patients.
The triage line coordinates care among the patient, nurses and physicians at the Cancer Center in Carson City.
“This allows us to support the patients and their caregivers, assess patient concerns over the phone, reduce unnecessary emergency department visits, and even guide patients towards seeking proper medical attention,” said Maria Sampang RN, OCN and AIC Nurse Manager at the Carson Tahoe Cancer Center.
Uncomfortable symptoms can occur both during and after chemotherapy treatment and it is important to have these symptoms assessed and evaluated by an oncology team so they do not worsen.
The triage line is answered by an infusion center nurse who will assess symptoms and provide resources for symptom management.
These include but are not limited to: vomiting, diarrhea, fever, infection, rashes, skin irritation, mouth sores, pain and constipation.
Meanwhile, if patients are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is recommended they call 911 or go directly to an emergency room:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Uncontrolled or heavy bleeding
- Loss of consciousness, numbness or tingling of extremities or face
- Sudden paralysis
- Eye pain or loss of vision
Since launching in late May, the nurse triage line has responded to an average of 3-5 calls per day, seeing great results.
“So far we have had great feedback from the patients using the new triage line,” Sampang said. “We've had patients compliment us on our prompt responses and how they were able to take charge of their health just by us improving our availability.”
Not only does the triage line help patients feel they can more easily manage their care, but it also can save them money.
“We are continually aware of our patient's needs, and one of those is trying to reduce healthcare costs by keeping people out of the hospital,” said Jared Carter, Director of Carson Tahoe Cancer Center. “Our goal at Carson Tahoe Health is to treat the whole person, encourage overall wellness, and truly be a resource in our community outside of the facility's walls.”
The Carson Tahoe Cancer Center Nurse Triage Line's hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:30pm. Patients can reach the triage line directly by calling (775) 445-7978. For more information, please visit CarsonTahoe.com/Cancer.
This article was provided by Carson Tahoe Health. For more information, go to www.carsontahoe.com.