Drug pumps to fa­cil­i­tate can­cer treat­ments at home

Hos­pi­tal beds will be freed for oth­ers

Windsor Star - - CITY + REGION - DAVE WADDELL dwad­dell@post­media.com twit­ter.com/win­star­wad­dell

A $21,000 in­vest­ment in three pumps to de­liver chemo­ther­apy to pa­tients at home is go­ing save the Wind­sor Re­gional Hos­pi­tal about 125 days of acute-care bed oc­cu­pancy and $150,000 an­nu­ally. The CADD-So­lis am­bu­la­tory pumps will be pur­chased thanks to a do­na­tion of nearly $139,000 made by the Wind­sor Can­cer Cen­tre Foun­da­tion on Thurs­day. “This will al­low us to sup­port pa­tients at home rather than have them come to the hos­pi­tals for days at a time to have chemo­ther­apy,” said Melissa Lot, the hos­pi­tal can­cer pro­gram’s clin­i­cal prac­tice man­ager.

“When you’re not feel­ing well, you don’t want to go out and about. Pa­tients want to be in their own beds or be with fam­ily at home.” In ad­di­tion to the am­bu­la­tory pumps, the Can­cer Cen­tre Foun­da­tion do­na­tion will help fund a breast re­con­struc­tion pro­gram, are­ola tat­too re­im­burse­ment, new com­puter soft­ware and video con­fer­enc­ing equip­ment for telemedicine ap­point­ments.

The foun­da­tion has raised $28 mil­lion since 1996, with $25 mil­lion of that go­ing to the Wind­sor Re­gional Can­cer Cen­tre. Jeff Richer, di­rec­tor ra­di­a­tion on­col­ogy, ac­cepted the cheque on the hos­pi­tal’s be­half. He said the pro­grams re­ceiv­ing fund­ing Thurs­day are ex­am­ples of the difference the foun­da­tion and the com­mu­nity’s gen­eros­ity are mak­ing in lo­cal health­care. With­out such sup­port, Richer said, new pro­grams like chemoat-home wouldn’t be pos­si­ble. “I think the chemo-at-home is an in­ter­est­ing project,” Richer said. “I think it’s some­thing that’s go­ing to be a big win for a sub­set of pa­tients that are able to take that home and get that treat­ment de­liv­ered at home rather than come to the hos­pi­tal.

“Com­ing here is some­thing peo­ple don’t want to do. It’s a dif­fi­cult place to get to and a dif­fi­cult place to park at when you’re tired and sick.”

The idea of chemo-at-home isn’t a new one in On­tario. Suc­cess­ful ver­sions of the pro­gram are al­ready es­tab­lished in Toronto, Ottawa and Lon­don.

Lot said the lo­cal chemo-ath­ome pro­gram will start with pa­tients bat­tling lym­phoma. “We plan to roll this out this fall,” said Lot, who said the next step is pur­chas­ing the pumps.

“We want to make sure all the proper pa­tient sup­ports are in place. We want to set the pa­tient up for suc­cess.” Lym­phoma pa­tients re­ceive chemo treat­ment six times an­nu­ally and cur­rently re­quire five-day hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions mak­ing them ideal can­di­dates for the new pro­gram.

The new treat­ment plan will see a pa­tient come to the clinic at the start of each of their six chemo­ther­apy ses­sions.

A nurse will set up their chemo treat­ment, educate them on the treat­ment and out­line the sup­ports in place should they need as­sis­tance.

“They ’ll come in once, get hooked up and go home for the week,” Lot said. “We’ll make sure the emer­gency depart­ment is aware of these pa­tients in case they needed sup­port at night.”

The rip­ple ef­fect of the new pro­gram extends beyond just im­prov­ing pa­tient com­fort and con­ve­nience.

By not oc­cu­py­ing an acute care bed for five days while a chem­i­cal cock­tail drips into their bod­ies around the clock, beds will be freed up for oth­ers.

“It should help get pa­tients out of ER a bit faster be­cause there’ll be more beds avail­able,” Lot said. “It should also save the hos­pi­tal about $150,000 a year that can be put to­wards some­thing else.”


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