Cancer patients undergoing oncology studies often face a wide range of logistical, financial, emotional, and physical challenges. While the focus is primarily on their treatment and medical needs, other factors such as housing, transportation, expenses and personalized support play a crucial role in their experience. Sponsors should consider these aspects to ensure that cancer patients receive the best possible support during oncology studies.

Housing Needs

Cancer patients participating in clinical trials often need temporary housing, especially if they are traveling from distant locations. Here’s what sponsors should consider:

  • Short-Term Housing: Patients with shorter treatment cycles or who can easily travel back and forth may find short-term accommodations like hotels suitable. However, these should be comfortable and located near the site.
  • Long-Term Housing: Patients with longer treatment cycles or those requiring extended stays will need long-term housing options. These may include serviced apartments or rentals, which allow patients to maintain a semblance of normalcy during their stay.
  • Proximity to Treatment Facilities: Housing should be close to the site to reduce stress and transportation time. Patients should not have to worry about lengthy commutes or navigating unfamiliar areas. Also, if patients do not show improvement, they may request to be closer to the treatment site during the trial. 

Transportation Considerations

Transportation is a critical aspect of oncology studies, especially for patients far from the treatment center. Key considerations include:

  • Long-Distance Ground Transportation: Some patients may prefer ground transportation to avoid the stress of air travel. Additionally, cancer patients, who are typically immunosuppressed, might feel more comfortable avoiding the risks associated with air travel. Arranging private transportation services can provide them with added comfort and safety. Typically, prepaid ground transportation services at the concierge level often use the same driver, who is experienced in working with patient populations and cleans the vehicle after each use, benefiting immunosuppressed patients.
  • Flight Considerations: If flights are necessary, first-class seating can provide additional space and reduced contact with the general population. Sponsors should consider covering these costs to ensure patient comfort.
  • Concierge Service: Providing white-glove services, such as Greenphire + Clincierge’s Patient Travel and Logistics Support, enables personalized coordination, including door-to-door pick-up and drop-off. This tailored assistance significantly alleviates patient stress, making travel more manageable.

Flexibility and Personalized Support

Cancer patients have unique needs, and a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. Sponsors should be flexible and open to changes in patient requirements:

  • Understanding Patient Preferences: Some patients might request specific accommodations, such as a particular hotel, special dietary needs, or additional support for children or family members. It’s important for patients to have someone to call, such as a personal coordinator, for requests like these.
  • Dealing with Exceptions: Oncology studies often require adaptability. Implementing a standardized process for handling exceptions allows for changes in the scope of support. An internal travel policy can guide these decisions, with an exception tracker for client approval when needed.
  • Offering Concierge-Level Support: Personalized support, such as arranging childcare, specialty vehicles or covering additional travel costs, can enhance the patient experience. Having a personal coordinator available 24/7 to assist patients with all of their needs ultimately aids in upfront recruitment efforts as well as retention of patients enrolled in the study.

The Patient Experience

Cancer patients undergoing oncology studies often face uncertainty and stress. By offering comprehensive support in housing, transportation, and personalized care, sponsors can significantly improve their experience:

  • Retention and Recruitment: A positive patient experience leads to better retention and makes recruiting participants for future studies easier.
  • Focus on Early Cycles: The first two treatment cycles are the most intense, with frequent visits and adjustments to dosing. Providing extra support during this phase is crucial.
  • Addressing Additional Needs: Patients with large families or additional responsibilities may require extra support. Addressing these needs can alleviate stress and improve their overall experience.

Cancer patients participating in oncology studies require more than medical treatment. That’s why having a partner who is an expert in patient logistics support and who can remove all financial barriers is invaluable. Addressing patients’ unique needs can ensure a smooth and effective trial journey. Through integrated participant support services offered by Greenphire and Clincierge, oncology trial patients can find peace of mind, knowing that their comprehensive needs are being met.

Ready to start enhancing patient care in your oncology trials? 

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