Patients who need chemotherapy treatment can now be treated closer to their homes by fully qualified and experienced outreach nurses.
Outreach chemotherapy is an extension of the chemotherapy unit at Derriford Hospital. One day each week nurses from the Derriford unit attend the local community hospitals to run a chemotherapy clinic.
The nurse-led service, which was successfully piloted last year, has been running at Tavistock community hospital every Friday for the last five months. It is anticipated that within the next few months it will become available for patients at Liskeard hospital and from early next year, the service will also be provided at Kingsbridge hospital.
Each clinic is run by two nurses from the Derriford Hospital chemotherapy unit, who are fully qualified and experienced in chemotherapy administration and the management of side effects.
Junior sister and outreach team leader, Laura Evenden, said: “The outreach clinics enable us to bring the treatment closer to the patients. Since the service has been running, more than 30 patients have benefited from receiving their chemotherapy treatment closer to their home. Many of them tell us they prefer the smaller clinics and the ability to meet people in similar situations in their local community.
“It is great news for those patients who are able to have their treatment closer to their homes. Unfortunately, not all chemotherapy treatments are suitable to be given at the clinics. These include chemotherapy that needs to be infused over more than five hours or that is given more than a once a week or where there is a high risk of an allergic reaction. However, there are many treatments that are suitable, and we are hoping to include more treatments in the future.”
Notes to Editors:
How outreach chemotherapy is arranged:
Before each cycle of chemotherapy, the patient is required to come in to the oncology outpatients clinic to see their doctor. This enables the doctor to check the patient’s health and address any problem they may have encountered with the treatment. The doctor will then check the patient’s blood results and prescribe the patient’s chemotherapy.
The chemotherapy is ordered and is brought to the outreach clinic by the nurses on the day of the treatment.
The chemotherapy is always on the same day of the week, but patients are contacted on the day before the treatment to be given a time to attend the outreach clinic.
If a patient’s blood count is too low, they will usually need to attend Derriford again for a repeat test, although in some circumstances this can be done at the patient’s local GP surgery.
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