Drug pumps to facilitate cancer treatments at home
Hospital beds will be freed for others
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.”