State looks at home chemo

The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards, an accredited company based in Northbridge, is the first in WA to administer chemotherapy and other treatments to patients in their own home.

The treatment is free for privately insured patients but Ms Rogers, a registered nurse, wants to make it available to all.

�We had some very positive feedback earlier in our discussions with senior staff at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) and the Health Minister himself also seemed very keen,� Ms Rodgers said.

�We have enormous demand from public patients who attend SCGH, requesting their chemotherapy be administered at home, particularly from patients who are very frail and find it difficult and exhausting to go to hospital and those who have poor transport options.�

Mosman Park resident Rhonda Clifford was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and had treatment through Chemo@home.

�I was able to have a coffee, a girlfriend sit with me and it meant I didn�t have to leave the house or have the added pressure of finding a car park,� Ms Clifford said.

�I also didn�t have to be intimidated or face a big group in a hospital.

�By the second or third round of chemo your anxiety levels are pretty high, but removing all those other anxieties makes a real difference.�

General practitioner Joe Kosterich said the Health Department needed to look closer at the proposal.

�If it can be done safely I can�t see why it is not being offered for public patients, already it�s cheaper to treat patients at home and it would free up a hospital bed,� Dr Kosterich said.

�The Health Department is either scared of outsourcing after what�s happened at the new hospital, that could be one explanation or it�s down to the inability of bureaucrats.�

Health Minister Kim Hames said being able to access accredited health care services close to home was supported by the Government.

�I�m still investigating the possibilities, but if we trial a home treatment program and I�m satisfied that it�s a successful model, then I�d be keen to explore how the program may be rolled out more broadly, for suitable paediatric care situations, for example,� Dr Hames said.

�But chemotherapy at home isn�t suitable for everyone of course and the majority of treatments are done in hospital because of the risks involved.

�Only patients who require short infusions would be eligible.�