Lucy O'Donnell

Lucy O'Donnell

Cancer Is a Teacher

Having Your Cancer Treatment at Home

Cancer care is moving forward at a fast pace - I am now being treated at home

Posted Dec 07, 2016

Its been five years since I have been having regular onocolgy treatment for my Stage 1V breast cancer and during that time I have been schlepping up to London for my three weekly treatments.  Not to mention the myriad of other doctor appointments and check ups, CT and Pet scans and what have you.

So sometimes I really do begin to think that “staying well” is my part time job.  I know that those of you who are living with metastatic cancer will appreciate this.

One of the most wonderful things I have discovered lately is being able to have treatment in my own home.  This is how it works.

Your consultant or hospital team will arrange the referral of an organisation that will come out to you.  Initially, they will contact you and ask any questions they need to know, and then a visit will be scheduled in.   The communication with my oncology clinic and the “at home” providers appears to be faultless.  The nurses are well prepped and well informed about my situation.  As with my clinic, all the visits are scheduled in 6 months in advance so that you know exactly what is happening. 

I couldn’t believe how easy and seamless it all was.  I have had two treatments at home now.  The nurses have many years of experience and so far each one has had a very kind, relaxed and cheerful disposition.  They are not having to deal with the goings on and rushedness of the clinic – so you are their only priority.  I must say it was so nice to be treated in my bedroom with my music or TV on.  It didn’t matter if they were a tad late as I could get on with doing whatever it was I doing around the house. 

During the administration of the treatment we chatted and had cups of tea and it was altogether a very easy experience.  They then stayed for about 20-30 minutes to make sure there were no adverse reactions.  I felt as if I had just had a couple of friends round for coffee, with very little interruption to my day.  My team are available 24hrs a day, 365 days a years and there is number to call if anything untoward should happen.  So I felt very safe, just as safe as being in the clinic.

What an incredible thing this is.  It really makes a difference to the quality of life for long term cancer patients like myself.  It is well known, that patients do better at home, so to be able to make use of this facility is another positive step forward in the quality of cancer care.  And the other thing, whether you are insured or not – the cost is 50% less.   That is because you are not paying for the overheads of the clinic and a bed.  Surely – with medical costs spiralling out of control, this is a great thing.