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More possibilities for home chemotherapy for children

De Meern, May 09, 2017

Breakthrough collaboration by Emma Children's Hospital AMC, KinderThuisZorg and Mediq Children treated for cancer at Emma Children's Hospital AMC in Amsterdam have, in the context of a pilot, been given the opportunity to receive chemotherapy at home. For this purpose, specialist pediatric oncology nurses employed by KinderThuisZorg visited the children at home to determine whether their physical condition allowed the administration of chemotherapy. Mediq ensured safe delivery of the chemotherapy administration system and the medication that is prepared by Emma Children’s Hospital AMC. "Children and their parents need to go to the hospital less often for chemotherapy. This makes the treatment less stressful," says Dr. Marianne van de Wetering, pediatric oncologist and chef de clinique pediatric oncology at Emma Children's Hospital AMC, who supervised this pilot with specialist pediatric oncology nurse Charlotte Beukhof.

Less stressful
Children with leukemia could already receive a small part of their chemotherapy at home. This is now also possible for other types of chemotherapy that can only be administered after interpreting blood test results, a physical examination and a consultation. A unique development in the care of sick children outside the hospital. "The children can simply stay in their own living environment and spend less time in the hospital. This increases the quality of life and reduces social impact. At the same time, this cooperation strengthens the bridge between hospital care and home care,” van de Wetering says.

Treatments by specialist pediatric oncology nurses
KinderThuisZorg is the first pediatric home health care service agency in the Netherlands to employ specialized oncology nurses. “These specialist pediatric nurses provide the oncology treatments at home. In the past, the children had to visit the hospital weekly or sometimes more often to have chemotherapy as part of their treatment,” says Natascha Kok, pediatric oncology nurse and comfort care specialist at KinderThuisZorg.

Safe care in familiar surroundings
"Good organization and cooperation are the keys to care transitions from hospital to home,” emphasizes Xander Schrage, director of Mediq Tefa. “To enable a safe and seamless transfer we have developed an integral approach with KinderThuisZorg and Emma Children's Hospital AMC. This creates new opportunities to provide the best possible care in a familiar environment.”

A normal day at school
To ensure quality, Emma Children's Hospital AMC, KinderThuisZorg and Mediq have conducted a pilot project during three months. Roemer and Justin (both age eight) participated in the pilot, and can be followed on “I hope this test can continue, that would be great,” says Roemer. “When I receive chemotherapy at home, I can still go to school all day,” Justin remarks. During the pilot, it was examined whether the desired effect was achieved. To this end, parents have regularly filled out questionnaires on the quality of life and the social impact. Given the positive pilot results, the obvious next step is to continue this approach. Health insurance companies are therefore invited to support administration of chemotherapy in the home environment. This way, this care solution can also be introduced at other children's hospitals.

Press release of KinderThuisZorg, Emma Kinderziekenhuis AMC and Mediq.