CHEMO PUMP SAVES BEDS AND LETS CANCER PATIENTS BE AT HOME

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Over the course of almost two years, the Haematology Clinic at Rigshospitalet has saved 550 bed days divided between 75 patients by providing chemotherapy with a portable pump instead of hospitalising the patients. On average, a bed day for a patient with leukaemia costs between 5-6,000 Danish kroner. This approach lets patients live a more normal life with their families and reduces exposure to the risk of hospital infections.

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Blood cancer patients at Rigshospitalet were admitted for chemotherapy that typically lasted 10 days.

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Patients are given a programmable portable pump and a backpack containing a bag of chemo fluid that is automatically administered to the patient via a catheter. This allows the patient to live an almost normal life. Hospital visits are only required to replace the bag of chemo fluid. This avoids hospital stays, which can mean exposure to infections, reduced appetite, loss of sleep and limited opportunities for activity and exercise. It also frees up beds. After being tested on one type of blood cancer patient at Rigshospitalet, being treated at home is now available in haematological clinics across Denmark. In the long term, the hope is to apply the method to other intravenous treatments such as antibiotics. Chemo pumps cost 20-30,000 Danish kroner. A nationwide research study will assess the overall treatment and its financial benefits. Developed under Rigshospitalet’s innovation programme (IdéRiget), the chemo pump was the brainchild of 10 visionary members of staff exempted from their usual daily work tasks for six months. During that time, Rigshospitalet’s Innovation Board, Rigshospitalet’s Development Unit and DTU Business served as sounding boards. The chemo pump has also been used for antibiotics for several patient groups, for coagulation medicine and for other treatments to reduce the time spent in hospital.

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