Tata Memorial Hospital has started the ‘Chemotherapy Care Unit’ (CCU), a 24x7 helpline for cancer patients suffering from chemotherapy side-effects. Handled by trained nurses, the unit has thus far helped 2,000 patients. Doctors said even though most side effects are minor, absence of medical intervention can lead to life-threatening conditions.
The hospital kicked off the project in August 2022 with 10 nurses who were trained for two months with hands-on experience in the classroom. The nurses were placed in three shifts, providing 24-hour connection between patients and healthcare personnel.
A doctor said that there is definite evidence to show improved survival along with better quality of life when nurses are involved in the care of patients after chemotherapy. He said, “While 80% of patients can exhibit symptomatic benefits with advice, 80% with life threatening complications may benefit by receiving advice and appropriate treatment on time.
Chemotherapy management over the phone
Oncology professor Dr Vivek Ostwal said they wanted to provide chemotherapy management over the phone and this initiative has helped many patients facing severe side-effects.
He said, “Patients assume severe side-effects and choose to ignore them. This initiative has bridged the communication gap once they leave the hospital.”
A doctor said, “The log book maintained by nurses includes documentation such as names of patients, case numbers, chemotherapy drugs, complaints, intervention, resolution/ non resolution of problem and schedule of follow-up, thus making sure that the resolution of the problem takes place.”
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