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Chemo at Home

5 June 2018

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (15:01): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Health a question regarding chemotherapy treatment.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY: In 2013, an at-home chemotherapy service named chemo@home was founded in Perth. Since this time, over 10,000 treatments have been carried out on cancer patients in the comfort of their own homes. Founders, Julie Wilkes and Lorna Rogers, have stated that their service costs approximately 50 per cent of what it costs to treat patients in hospital day units.

Within the coming weeks this service will be expanded to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Will the government consider providing a system of chemotherapy at home for cancer patients in South Australia?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:01): I thank the honourable member for the question. There are a lot of hospital-type services already provided in the home. I was at a workshop with health clinicians last Friday, and I think the issue of palliative care in the home was highlighted.

Also, it is my belief that we might be providing some chemotherapy in the home already. I will take the question on notice. I certainly believe that providing healthcare services to the inpatient level at the home is to the benefit of both the client and the health system. There are benefits such as avoiding needing to be exposed to a hospital environment, which has infection risks, particularly for a certain class of clients. It often complies with patients' wishes, particularly in the palliative care space, and in a situation like chemotherapy or renal dialysis one can appreciate that, particularly if you have long sessions, the opportunity to have that at home would be welcomed.

Certainly in the renal space it has been a well-established practice to have home-based dialysis services. It is very important, particularly if people have long sessions, for the preservation of the family unit. If people can stay in the home environment and be able to interact with their loved ones while undertaking medical treatment, that is a win/win. To clarify, I will seek further details for the honourable member on the extent to which we currently use chemotherapy treatment at home, and on the opportunities to expand that.


Answer to Question

3 July 2018

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing): I have been advised:

Chemotherapy Treatment at Home is offered at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (since 1996), through the existing hospital chemotherapy unit. In addition, the Flinders Medical Centre provides low risk subcutaneous cytotoxic treatments through its Hospital at Home service.