August 22, 2019

New HITH Chemotherapy Service

Kilmore resident Michael Dunn is one of the first Northern Health patients to use our new Hospital in the Home (HITH) chemotherapy service.

Patients receiving chemotherapy for colorectal cancer require a specific regime that includes an infusor filled with chemotherapy to be attached for 46 hours.

Until recently, patients would return home once the infusor is attached and return to the day oncology unit for disconnection of the infusor on their third day of treatment.

Day Oncology Nurse Unit Manager, Melissa Gwynne, said, “This causes some anxiety for some patients who have issues with transport. Benchmarking across multiple health services, HITH are able, with the correct training, to provide this part of the service at home.”

Patients who meet the admission criteria can now be referred to HITH, allowing patients to be disconnected in the comfort of their own home, saving them an additional trip to hospital.

Michael Dunn (pictured above) has been an oncology patient of Northern Health since March and has been using the new HITH service for just over six weeks.

“It’s excellent. Saves me having to worry about getting all the way to Epping, I can drive but I only like to drive local – driving 40 minutes down the highway is a little bit nerve-wracking. So the fact that HITH is coming here – it just takes all that stress off you – it’s much easier,” he said.

With this new process, patients attend day oncology for day one of treatment, and are then transferred to HITH for day two and three for observation, assessment and disconnect.

Michelle McDonald, Nurse Unit Manager of HITH, said it’s beneficial for patients being able to be treated at home, helping them with issues of transport and parking.

“It’s also a win for day oncology, as it frees up space in the unit for other patients to be seen,” she added.

Patients also benefit from receiving an additional service on their second day of treatment, with the HITH nurse coming to your house to check on you. The nurse will complete a wellbeing check, ensuring the chemotherapy is running, the site is clean and everything’s working properly.

Previously, patients wouldn’t receive this additional check-up on their second day of treatment as they would have to return to hospital to do so.

“They come and check my stats on the Tuesday and then unplug me on the Wednesday. Previously, I wasn’t getting the second day check-up so it’s a plus plus,” Michael said.

Michael says his experience at Northern has been great -“absolutely amazing what happens and how good the nurses are,” Michael said.

“It’s been a good ride – you can’t go crook.”

Featured Image: Michael Dunn with HITH Nurse, Kate Findlay