ASCO and ONS Release Updated Chemotherapy Administration Standards to Include Pediatric Oncology Care

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ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) have updated their chemotherapy administration safety standards to include pediatric oncology care. The updated standards can be found in the Journal of Oncology Practice.1

In 2009, ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society published the initial set of standards for safely administering chemotherapy in the outpatient setting. The standards were updated in 2011 to include inpatient facilities and again in 2013 to include safe oral chemotherapy administration and management. These standards are intended to reduce the risk of errors when providing patients with chemotherapy and provide a framework for best practices in cancer care. Specifically, they can inform practice policies and procedures, internal quality assessment, and external quality monitoring.

For the latest update, a joint ASCO/ONS workshop with stakeholder participation, including that of the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses and the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, along with representatives from the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists was held to review the 2013 standards. An extensive literature search was subsequently conducted, and public comments on the revised draft standards were solicited.

The updated 2016 standards include clarification and are presented in a new organizational schema that is more intuitive to those who deliver cancer care and expands the existing standards to include pediatric oncology and to introduce new standards, most notably:

  • Two-person verification of chemotherapy preparation 
  • Administration of vinca alkaloids via mini-bags in facilities in which intrathecal medications are administered
  • Labeling of medications dispensed from the health-care setting to be taken by the patient at home
  • Education of patients and family in procedures for handling medications in the home, including storage, safe handling, and management of unused medication

ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society continue to address the advancements in oncology technology, treatment, education, and training by conducting a periodic review and revision of the standards.

For more details on these standards, view the full update at ■


1. Neuss MN, Gilmore TR, Belderson KM, et al: 2016 updated American Society of Clinical Oncology/Oncology Nursing Society chemotherapy administration safety standards, including standards for pediatric oncology. J Oncol Pract 12:1262-1271, 2016.

© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.