Patients in Southeastern Ontario on a specific type of chemotherapy are now benefiting from a novel approach to receive their care closer to home.
Known as Vidaza, this injectable treatment is used to treat certain types of bone marrow cancers and blood cell disorders. Typically, patients on Vidaza receive it seven days in a row every three weeks, during a 15 minute appointment.
The stability of Vidaza made it difficult to transport across the region so all patients on Vidaza were required to receive it out of the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario (CCSEO) located at the Kingston General Hospital site. For patients who live outside of Kingston, that has meant having to travel into the city multiple days in a row for necessary treatment.
“We had some patients who had to regularly come from far distances to receive this important treatment, which we know is not the best possible type of patient care,” says Kardi Kennedy, interim Program Operational Director for the Cancer Program. “We saw an opportunity to create a solution that would help our patients receive the care they need closer to home and minimize the travel and stress for them and their loved ones.”
Working closely together, the pharmacy team at CCSEO collaborated with community hospitals to create Vidaza in a form that could be easily transported and would not impact the integrity and effectiveness of the treatment. It’s now mixed first thing in the morning at the CCSEO pharmacy in Kingston and transported the same day to community hospitals where it is re-suspended before being given to the patient.
For patients receiving Vidaza treatments, this means they can now go to their community hospital for the injection instead of having to travel as far.
“The care we were receiving in Kingston was wonderful but it was incredibly draining to have to drive back and forth just to receive a quick shot,” says one patient on Vidaza who is now receiving the treatment at their local community hospital. “We would get up early in the morning and spend around five hours a day travelling to and from the hospital multiple times a month, worrying about traffic and weather. Now, we are receiving the same great care and seeing no difference in treatment at our local hospital, which is so much easier and happier for our family.”
South East remains the most rural population in the province and one of the few regions that are able to mix, transport and inject Vidaza in a healthcare setting closer to a patient’s home.
“Not only does this approach deliver care closer to home for patients, it reinforces their relationships with the community hospitals and helps them save money and time that they were previously putting into their travel costs,” says Dr. Tara Baetz, Regional Quality Lead, Systemic Treatment. “We are continuing to look at what other treatments we can help patients receive in their community hospitals and minimize their travel for necessary care.”