In May 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) released updated chemotherapy administration safety standards. Since 2011, these guidelines have included both outpatient and inpatient facilities.

The document, which includes safety standards for staffing, chart documentation, general chemotherapy practices, chemotherapy orders/prescriptions, drug preparation, patient consent and education, chemotherapy administration, and monitoring and assessment, includes similar standards across outpatient and inpatient facilities.

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Furthermore, this update added safety standards for the use of oral chemotherapy as the use of these agents has been increasing. Unlike typical oral medications for chronic conditions, oral anticancer drugs often have varying schedules of administration.

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Rather than receiving intravenous drug therapy in a controlled outpatient facility or inpatient setting, patients are taking these agents at home, and therefore should receive patient education and should be visiting the outpatient setting frequently for monitoring of adherence and toxicity.7

Ultimately, more patients with cancer are receiving drug therapy in the outpatient setting rather than the inpatient setting due to the numerous advantages; however, costs vary widely between outpatient hospitals and individual, private oncologists’ offices.


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