Day clinic saves 118 ward stays

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:57 19/02/2013

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Patients recovering from chemotherapy have been saved from 118 nights in hospital thanks to a new approach to their treatment.

MidCentral District Health Board (MDHB) is now treating patients with neutropenia at day clinics rather than in wards, meaning they spend more time at home.

Neutropenia is a condition where patients may have a lower than normal level of a particular white blood cell. This affects the body's ability to fight off infection.

People with the condition had been treated as inpatients in ward 23. However, they are now able to be treated in an outpatient-based, nurse-led clinic. This eases the stress on patients and allows them to return home sooner.

"Having this change of practice . . . has been challenging but very successful," haematology clinical nurse specialist Anne Krishna said.

"We have found it has had multiple benefits for both the patients and MDHB, allowing patients to receive an improved cancer experience with increased satisfaction.

"At the same time, their length of stay is shortened, freeing up the beds in the inpatient ward and improving patient flow."

In the first six months since the treatment method was changed, 18 patients have made 79 visits to the clinic, saving 118 inpatient bed days.

A survey of clinic users has revealed that overall they had a nicer experience under the new treatment option. This was typified by one patient's response that they were able to spend more time at home recovering with their family.

"Being an outpatient was emotionally less stressful than being an inpatient," the patient said.

"The outpatient staff, especially the haematology team, were all wonderful. Their kindness, knowledge and support all made a huge difference."

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- Manawatu Standard

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