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UMSON Researcher Partners with Greenebaum Cancer Center Oncology Nurse to Implement Digital Technologies to Support Older Cancer Survivors

March 27, 2020

Research examines the impact of a Cancer Survivorship Patient Engagement Toolkit.

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing’s (UMSON) Eun-Shim Nahm, PhD ’03, RN, FAAN, professor and director, Nursing Informatics master’s specialty, has received a one-year, $15,000 UMNursing grant, a joint venture between UMSON and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), for the project “The Impact of a Digital Cancer Survivorship Patient Engagement Toolkit (CaS-PET Silver) on Older Cancer Survivors’ Health Outcomes: A Pilot Study.” Nahm has partnered with Mary McQuaige, BSN, RN, OCN, at the UMMC Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center to conduct the research. 

As of Jan. 1, 2019, there were more than 16.9 million cancer survivors living in the United States, and the number is expected to reach more than 22.1 million by 2030, according to the American Cancer Society. This is a testament to advanced research and health technologies that are allowing survivors to live longer. Nahm and McQuaige’s research is focused on providing older cancer survivors with the support they need through digital technologies, offering them resources and support in community settings, and connecting them to their peers in an online environment where they are already spending time.

Through the grant, Nahm and McQuaige will work to assess the preliminary impact of CaS-PET Silver Plus, an online portal that uses resource modules, informed by clinicians, on topics relevant to cancer survivors, such as diet and managing difficult emotions. Appropriate amounts of information are delivered in a user-friendly format at the right time.

“Upon completion of the cancer treatment, we send e-messages every other week through the patient portal to ask how they’re doing, and in the messages we embed links to support modules and video lectures,” Nahm said, adding that cancer survivorship has become a population health issue. “Survivors’ numbers will increase because of the advanced treatment, but it doesn’t mean that their quality of life is guaranteed. It’s important that we provide continuous support to enhance quality of life for the rest of their lives.”

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,000 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.