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Study investigates hospital versus home treatment for cancer patients

Posted: 2 December 2014

Curtin University researchers are undertaking a new project which will compare the cost and health outcomes of breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy from their home versus in a hospital.

Professor Moyez Jiwa from Curtin’s Department of Medical Education said with the increasing number of cancer patients as a result of an aging population, improved treatment options and increased re-treatment rates, the pressure on health services is set to increase significantly over the next decade.

“Currently, the majority of Western Australian cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy as ‘hospital admitted patients’, in either a day unit environment or hospital inpatient treatment facility,” Professor Jiwa said.

“We want to explore whether treatment at home can provide an improved patient experience and deliver a more sustainable health service model of care including direct cost savings to the WA Health Department, and similar quality of life and safety outcomes to that of the hospital setting.”

Professor Jiwa said the study would involve recruiting one hundred breast cancer patients who require at least four cycles of chemotherapy.

“They will receive cycles one and two at a hospital day unit and cycles three and four will be randomised to either the hospital day unit or home treatment.

“We are hoping that innovative and cost effect ways of reducing the dependence on our hospital services are found as a result of this study,” Professor Jiwa said.

The project, titled A randomised controlled trial of breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy in a hospital day unit or at home; an analysis of cost and patient reported outcomes, is being funded by the WA Department of Health and will run for two years.