Video boon for chemo patients

Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
NHS nurse director Kerry Fisher and clinical nurse manager Claire O'Dea with the new telehealth system.
Camera IconNHS nurse director Kerry Fisher and clinical nurse manager Claire O'Dea with the new telehealth system.

Low-risk chemotherapy has just got more efficient for local patients, with innovative telehealth technology now available at the Narrogin Health Service.

TeleChemotherapy is a model of care that enables some cancer patients to receive low-risk chemotherapy locally with the support of specialist Perth-based clinicians via videoconferencing technology.

Narrogin Health Campus’ TeleChemotherapy services will improve the treatment experience for country patients by reducing the need to be away from home during low-risk cancer treatments.

Narrogin Health Service nurse director Kerry Fisher said three clients had already requested the service.

“Patients’ referrals come through and they are assessed to see if they are suitable for the service and then we will provide their therapy here,” she said.

“We’ve had one client so far, she found it fine ... it was a long day, being the first day.

“Her admission was done through telehealth with the specialist doctor in Perth, and the patient had her treatment in the afternoon and went home.”

Inpatient ward clinical nursing manager Claire O’Dea said travelling for treatment was the biggest challenge for patients.

“They would often stay overnight in accommodation away from their families, and with COVID-19 restrictions in place it just made it incredibly challenging for the patients themselves,” she said.

“Some are four or five hours away from Perth, so if we can halve that journey for them, it has a considerable effect on their entire patient journey.”

The TeleChemotherapy upgrade was part of the Narrogin hospital’s $50 million redevelopment last year.

The Commonwealth provided $2m towards the cost of the three chemotherapy chairs at NHS.

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