New grant-funded project works toward improving sleep in pediatric cancer patients

New grant-funded project works toward improving sleep in pediatric cancer patients

Pediatric cancer patients may soon get a better night's sleep and experience improved comfort levels, thanks to a new grant-funded project led by a Rutgers University-Camden researcher. Lauren Daniel, an assistant professor of psychology and a licensed clinical psychologist, has received a $50,000 grant from the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research to lead the pilot program "Disrupted Sleep and its Association with Symptom Burden and Reduced Engagement in Supportive Care in Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Patients." Daniel, a former fellow at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with niche expertise in the sleep patterns of children with cancer, will collaborate with members of CHOP's behavioral oncology research team, including Jason Freedman, inpatient medical director and an attending physician within the Division of Oncology; Kim Venella, a nurse practitioner in bone marrow transplant; and Lamia Barakat, director of psychosocial services and behavioral oncology research. The study will be assisted by data provided by CHOP, which will be collected on an intervention to improve sleep in pediatric cancer patients undergoing stem cell transplants. I am grateful for the opportunity to branch out into a new area of research aimed at improving the quality of life of patients at CHOP." Lauren Daniel, assistant professor of psychology and licensed clinical psychologist Daniel explains that she had been working on quality improvement initiatives with colleagues at CHOP focused on improving sleep for pediatric cancer patients. The team began with a survey of children and families about elements of hospitalizations that disrupted overnight sleep. Families cited frequent awakenings for nighttime care as the most disruptive factor to sleep. The current study will try to reduce nighttime awakenings for care by six hours for sleep overnight. The team is currently studying how sleep affects the day-to-day symptoms and coping abilities of patients in the peritransplant period, the early stage when cells are starting to graft and grow. The researchers ultimately hope to determine what they can alter to improve sleep patterns of patients - and encourage changes in nursing practices accordingly - in order to improve psychosocial outcomes. Related Stories



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