Clinical Trials: How to Get an Older Adult Accepted and Enrolled
Helping an older adult prepare to apply to a clinical trial
Once your close friend or relative has decided that participating in a clinical trial could be worth doing, has found one that seems appropriate, and has discussed it with her doctor, you'll want to quickly begin the process of helping her apply to the trial. Time is of the essence, because a patient's health status can change very quickly and her medical information needs to be up to date.
The application process isn't simple; most clinical trials for cancer treatment have stringent criteria for each patient's medical history and, sometimes, lifestyle choices. The more prepared you are, the better able you'll be to provide the answers that will get the person you're caring for into the study of her choice -- or help her discoveit's not the right trial for her.
1. Assemble her medical data.
The researchers conducting each clinical trial need a great deal of medical information in order to make decisions about which patients to include in and which to exclude from a trial. Before the initial visit, she will receive a packet of information, including instructions about which medical records she'll need to bring with her or have her doctor send in. These might include treatment history, pathology reports and slides, and radiology reports.
2. Prepare for the screening.
If the trial is far away, she'll often be given maps and travel and hotel information. Researchers are looking for, among other things, signs that an applicant is healthy enough to withstand the treatment being tested and isn't at high risk for other conditions and side effects, so you may wish to arrive the day before and stay overnight nearby to make sure she is well rested and alert the day of the screening.