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Nurs Clin North Am. 1982 Dec;17(4):665-75.

Home management of the adult patient with leukemia.


The many changes that have occurred within the medical profession and among the public are taking long-term care out of the hospital and placing it back into the home. Attitudes toward cancer have altered, as seen by the rapid growth of the oncology specialty as well as the willingness of the community to allow those with cancer to return to a viable status. Even the individual who must face end-stage disease can now rest comfortably in the privacy of his or her own home, surrounded by loved ones. Improved nutritional efforts during periods of active therapy are reducing the side effects and improving the tolerance of highly cytotoxic drugs. Thus, acute episodes of treatment are shortened, allowing for earlier discharge. Individuals are demanding accurate information regarding their disease and its treatment. Patients are catalysts for their own recovery as they become more active participants in their care. Some are even choosing not to undergo suggested therapies and are returning home to put their lives in order and let disease processes take their natural course, even until death. As for leukemia, more supportive measures such as blood component therapy and evaluative work-ups are being offered on an outpatient basis. Patients are learning self-care measures to counteract or minimize side effects to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Thus, overwhelming infection is of less risk and hospitalization is shortened. Infection, especially from Staphylococcus aureus, still remains a major cause of death of patients with leukemia. However, one must consider how prevalent this organism is in the hospital environment. Home care management is improving; care can be as comprehensive as one might need or receive in the hospital setting.

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