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Cancer Care at Home

By American Cancer Society

Just as telemedicine is changing the ways in which primary care is delivered, much of cancer care can be delivered safely, effectively and less expensively from home. Penn Home Infusion Therapy has been providing infusion therapy at home for around two decades, but starting last year, in November 2019, just a few months before the pandemic started to complicate health care in America, Penn Medicine launched Cancer Care at Home. A joint initiative of the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation, the Center for Healthcare Innovation and the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Penn, the goal of the program is “to establish the home as a place where appropriate patients can receive appropriate care.” In this conversation, Dr. Justin Bekelman and Katherine Major describe the benefits of Cancer Care at Home, some of the barriers for home care that exist in America, and how the program navigated a 700% increase in patient care when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in America. Justin Bekelman, MD, a former American Cancer Society grantee, is Professor of Radiation Oncology and Medical Ethics and Health Policy as well as the Director of the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation. Katherine Major, MSN, RN, CHPN, is a registered nurse and a director of Penn Medicine at Home. She oversees the Penn Home Palliative Care and Penn Home Infusion Therapy programs. 6:09 – The benefits of delivering cancer care at home 9:17 – On how cancer care is delivered at home – What treatments can be administered safely and effectively at home? What symptoms can be managed in home environments? 14:43 – On sorting out who can be treated at home and who needs to be treated in a clinical setting 18:54 – On the staffing resources needed to safely provide cancer care at home 22:35 – On some of the roadblocks patients, caregivers and care teams need to navigate 27:14 – How the Cancer Care at Home program navigated the difficult period when the pandemic startd to take hold in America 31:42 – Some wonderful patient stories 36:47 – How ACS funding helped Dr. Bekelman “take science from inception to scale” 39:18 – A message they’d like to share with cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors

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