ResearchPad - recommendations-for-clinic-operations-and-treatment-during-covid19 https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Practical Challenges of Mask-to-Mask Encounters with Patients with Head and Neck Cancers amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11180 The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has forced a re-design of care in radiation oncology. Perhaps more than any other disease site we commonly see, the evaluation and treatment of head and neck cancer has posed the greatest risk of COVID-19 transmission between patients and radiotherapy providers. In our early experience with the novel coronavirus, several staff members were exposed to a COVID-positive patient and this caused us to devise policies and procedures to mitigate further risk in a way that could practically be employed across a large health system while not compromising care delivery. Here, we formulate a concise summary of simple steps, including a novel thermoplastic mask fitting technique and procedures for intraoral immobilization devices, to guide practices and provide new layers of protection for both patients and staff.

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<![CDATA[Radiation Therapy Department Reorganization during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak: Keys to Securing Staff and Patients During the First Weeks of the Crisis and Impact on Radiation Therapy Practice from a Single Institution Experience]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11084 During the first weeks of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in France, it was necessary to clearly define organizational priorities in the radiation therapy (RT) departments. In this report, we focus on the urgent measures taken to reduce risk for both our staff and patients by reducing the number of patients receiving treatment.Methods and MaterialsWe reviewed the fractionation schemes for all patients in our department, including those receiving treatment and those soon to start treatment. Our goals were to (1) decrease the number of patients coming daily to the hospital for RT, (2) adapt our human resources to continue patients’ care in the department, and (3) help to cover understaffed COVID-19 sectors of the hospital.ResultsWe identified 50 patients who were receiving treatment (n = 6), were going to start radiation after CT scan simulation (n = 41), or for whom the CT scan was pending (n = 3). The majority were women (64%) treated for breast cancer (54%). RT was delayed for 22 (44%) patients. The majority were offered hormone therapy as “waiting therapy.” Hypofractionation was considered in 21 (42%) patients mainly with breast cancer (18 of 21, 86%). The number of courses initially planned and replanned as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak during the period of March 15 to May 31, 2020, were 1383 and 683, respectively, which represented a reduction of 50% (including delayed sessions) that allowed our reorganization process.ConclusionsTo conserve resources during the pandemic, we successfully reduced the number of patients receiving treatment in a proactive fashion and adapted our organization to minimize the risk of COVID-19 contamination. Departments across the world may benefit from this same approach. ]]> <![CDATA[In Regard to Yerramilli et al’s “Palliative Radiotherapy for Oncologic Emergencies in the Setting of COVID-19: Approaches to Balancing Risks and Benefits”]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd13ba972-b3a1-4897-ba93-16bdb0b17423 <![CDATA[Experiencing the Surge: Report From a Large New York Radiation Oncology Department During the COVID-19 Pandemic]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nc0330c52-15a7-4179-b5ca-fc8628490331 The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting all aspects of life and changing the practice of medicine. Multiple recommendations exist on how radiation oncology practices should deal with this crisis, but little information is available on what actually happens when the COVID-19 surge arrives. New York City experienced the first surge of COVID-19 in the United States and is now the epicenter of the global pandemic. This study reviews how COVID-19 has affected aspects of medicine, nursing, radiation therapy, and administration in a hospital system in New York.Methods and MaterialsA retrospective review was conducted of the department of radiation oncology in a single health system in New York from March 1, 2020, to April 1, 2020. Collaboration was obtained from physicians, nurses, radiation therapy staff, and administration to recall their policies and effect on specific duties. A timeline was reconstructed to chronicle significant events. Numbers were obtained for patients on treatment, treatment breaks, and COVID-19 infections among staff and patients.ResultsThe COVID-19 surge has had a tremendous effect on the health system, such as cessation of all of surgeries, including oncologic surgery, and transfer of all inpatient oncology services to makeshift outpatient facilities. Radiation oncology has made aggressive efforts to reduce the number of patients in treatment to protect patients and staff and to reallocate staff and space for more acute clinical needs. Patients on-beam were reduced by 27% from 172 to 125 by April 1. Almost all visits were changed to telemedicine within 2 weeks. Infection rates and quarantine were quite low among staff and patients. The majority of residents were deployed into COVID-19 clinical settings.ConclusionsAlthough we “planned for the worst,” our health system was able to make necessary changes to still function at a reduced capacity. Our experience will give other departments a concrete experience to help them make their own policies and manage expectations. ]]> <![CDATA[Need for Caution in the Diagnosis of Radiation Pneumonitis During the COVID-19 Pandemic]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N1b08a488-4edc-49fe-88e0-23a96f71b1fb Patients with cancer are at high risk for mortality from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Radiation pneumonitis (RP) is a common toxicity of thoracic radiation therapy with clinical and imaging features that overlap with those of COVID-19; however, RP is treated with high-dose corticosteroids, which may exacerbate COVID-19–associated lung injury. We reviewed patients who presented with symptoms of RP during the intensification of a regional COVID-19 epidemic to report on their clinical course and COVID-19 testing results.Methods and MaterialsThe clinical course and chest computed tomography (CT) imaging findings of consecutive patients who presented with symptoms of RP in March 2020 were reviewed. The first regional COVID-19 case was diagnosed on March 1, 2020. All patients underwent COVID-19 qualitative RNA testing.ResultsFour patients with clinical suspicion for RP were assessed. Three out of 4 patients tested positive for COVID-19. All patients presented with symptoms of cough and dyspnea. Two patients had a fever, of whom only 1 tested positive for COVID-19. Two patients started on an empirical high-dose corticosteroid taper for presumed RP, but both had clinical deterioration and ultimately tested positive for COVID-19 and required hospitalization. Chest CT findings in patients suspected of RP but ultimately diagnosed with COVID-19 showed ground-glass opacities mostly pronounced outside the radiation field.ConclusionsAs this pandemic continues, patients with symptoms of RP require diagnostic attention. We recommend that patients suspected of RP be tested for COVID-19 before starting empirical corticosteroids and for careful attention to be paid to chest CT imaging to prevent potential exacerbation of COVID-19 in these high-risk patients. ]]> <![CDATA[Guidelines to Reduce Hospitalization Rates for Patients Receiving Curative-Intent Radiation Therapy During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Report From a Multicenter New York Area Institution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N1c549022-87ea-436d-89f9-14ec32ec419b

As the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic spreads around the globe, access to radiation therapy remains critical for patients with cancer. The priority for all radiation oncology departments is to protect the staff and to maintain operations in providing access to those patients requiring radiation therapy services. Patients with tumors of the aerodigestive tract and pelvis, among others, often experience toxicity during treatment, and there is a baseline risk that adverse effects may require hospital-based management. Routine care during weekly visits is important to guide patients through treatment and to mitigate against the need for hospitalization. Nevertheless, hospitalizations occur and there is a risk of nosocomial severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 spread. During the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, typical resources used to help manage patients, such as dental services, interventional radiology, rehabilitation, and others are limited or not at all available. Recognizing the need to provide access to treatment and the anticipated toxicity of such treatment, we have developed and implemented guidelines for clinical care management with the hope of avoiding added risk to our patients. If successful, these concepts may be integrated into our care directives in nonpandemic times.

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