Chemotherapy extravasation can lead to serious patient harm in patients with cancer. For nurses who administer vesicant chemotherapy, extravasation is a primary concern. Regardless of nurse experience level and despite prevention strategies, extravasations occur. Literature related to nurse management of chemotherapy extravasation beyond initial treatment is lacking, and no descriptors are available for a formalized process. Communication gaps and a lack of standardized follow-up within a 1400-bed, quaternary care academic medical institution contributes to challenges in care continuity when patients transition between hospital and ambulatory settings. With chemotherapy extravasation, the site does not immediately exhibit signs of tissue injury, leading to a false sense of security. As a result, tissue damage can be significant by the time the patient returns for his or her regular appointment. Two oncology clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) recognized an opportunity to bridge the gap and overcome the challenges by addressing patient needs postextravasation. Between 2015 and 2016, a formal consult process was designed, approved, and implemented to observe, manage, and make recommendations for timely care and follow-up. Since implementation of the process, the oncology CNSs have received multiple requests for consultations. Nursing staff report increased comfort levels with this process in place. A formalized process for managing chemotherapy extravasations increases patient safety and patient and nurse satisfaction.
Karius DL, Colvin CM. Managing Chemotherapy Extravasation Across Transitions of Care: A Clinical Nurse Specialist Initiative. J Infus Nurs. 2021 Jan-Feb 01;44(1):14-20. doi: 10.1097/NAN.0000000000000411. PMID: 33394869.