Supporting the Patient's Psychosocial Needs Throughout MPN Treatment


Rebecca Testi, MSN, APN, APN-G, from Hackensack Meridian Health, explains ways to help support patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) — a rare form of blood cancer — may lack specific met needs when it comes to psychological care. Providers and caregivers can start by validating patients with MPN to help diminish psychosocial needs, according to Rebecca Testi, MSN, APN, APN-G, Hackensack Meridian Health.

“I think education is really key with the patients, you as the nurse or nurse practitioner clinician really need to be able to tell patients, the depression is a side effect of the disease itself. Not you necessarily being sick, but truly like an underlying disease process. So I think it all starts with really good education, about disease process, treatment, support options, things like that,” explained Testi.

With patients who have MPNs, psychosocial help can be rare, causing patients to lack proper resources. Getting patients to normalize utilizing help can go unmanaged.

“I think we as providers could definitely be better about addressing it, explained Testi, who added that although its normal for patients to feel this way, it is important to find ways to help patients manage it so they can live a more normal life.

“Most cancer centers have really good social workers on staff that are designated to that particular division,” she said. “Where I work, we have dedicated social work for all liquid tumor patients, and most institutions will be able to connect you with a peer-to-peer support group. If patients agree, we'll often connect one MPN patient with another who's willing to have their information shared so that they can talk to each other share their feelings.”

Testi also highlighted the importance of caregiver support groups.

“Another thing that's really important is caregiver support groups,” she said. “Their families can interact and share how having a loved one with this defeat disease affects them. It is often just as hard on the family members and caregivers as it is on the patient.”

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