Linking the cerebellar assessment tool to the patient’s eMAR prompts the nurse to perform a cerebellar assessment before cytarabine administration in those patients for whom the drug was prescribed. In addition, cumulative data can be seen on the patient’s care flow sheet allowing for review of prior assessments and monitoring of any progressive changes indicating possible neurotoxicity.

An education program on the use of the cerebellar assessment tool, as well as workflow and documentation expectations, was developed and presented to oncology nursing staff in the inpatient and outpatient units.

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Oncology nurses at our facility now have a standardized process for assessment and documentation of cerebellar function, reported Ms Fournogerakis. The cerebellar assessment tool improves efficiency and eliminates free-text documentation. Nurses can compare results of previous assessments, promptly identifying adverse reactions and potentially preventing irreversible neurotoxicity caused by high-dose cytarabine administration.

The researchers plan to expand the assessment and documentation tool to other medications with neurotoxicity potential, such as blinatumomab, as well as other critical adverse effects of chemotherapies.

Read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s coverage of the 2017 Oncology Nursing Society’s Annual Conference by visiting the conference page.


1. Fournogerakis M, Martin R. Standardizing cerebellar assessment and documentation in patients receiving high-dose cytarabine. Oral presentation at: Oncology Nursing Society 42nd Annual Congress; May 4-7, 2015; Denver, CO.