Dr. Ashley Leak Bryant joined the AML Caregivers Chapter on March 9th, 2022 to discuss how you as a caregiver can support your loved one during and after AML treatment. In her presentation, she reviews common treatment related symptoms to watch out for and her study evaluating the effectiveness of a palliative care team in coaching patients and caregivers to meet their goals during treatment
Dr. Bryant’s study has been going on for a little over one year now.
In her study, the PACT team is made up of a registered nurse, a physical therapist, a pharmacist, and an occupational therapist. The PACT team enrolls adults over the age of 60 with newly diagnosed AML on the combination of a hypomethylating agent (azacitidine or decitabine) and venetoclax who have a caregiver willing to participate. The goal of the study is to start physical therapy and occupational therapy within the first few days of treatment in addition to having the pharmacist continually review the patient’s medication list.
Once a patient and caregiver are enrolled into the study, they will meet with each member of the PACT team for baseline assessments. The nurse will ask about symptoms, quality of life and cognition. Ocucpational therapy and physically therapy will evaluate functional status (gait, fall risk, what’s concerning about the patient’s physical condition). Afterwards, each member of the care team comes together to talk about their findings. The goal is to be able to present to the patient and carepartner what was found from the assessment and co-create SMART goals that the patient and carepartner can work towards during treatment. The patient and caregiver will complete a brief coaching call each week to check in on the progress toward the SMART goal and discuss the challenges being faced.
Dr. Bryant wraps up by stating that progress isn’t possible without patients and their carepartners working together with care teams and research teams. She wants each patient and caregiver who participate in research to know that you are making a difference when involved in a study. Your time and efforts are highly valued. As a healthcare professional, she strives to treat each patient and caregiver with kindness and always practice empathy because what you are going through is extremely difficult.
about the author
Katie joined HealthTree as the Community Director for AML in 2021. She is a registered dietitian who previously worked at the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas where she coached veterans with blood cancer on how to use nutrition to improve their treatment outcomes and minimize cancer-related side effects. Katie is passionate about health education and patient empowerment. In her spare time, she loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, spend time running outdoors and travel to new places.