Patients with multiple myeloma are being trained by nurses from South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to self-administer their own chemotherapy at home.
The trust, which runs The James Cook University Hospital and the Friarage Hospital, is one of a few trusts to give patients or their carers the ability to administer their own chemotherapy treatment.
“This presents significant benefits for both the patients and hospital staff”
Previously patients would need to travel to hospital once or twice a week to have their treatment or they would be visited by a community nurse who would administer it for them.
But eligible patients with myeloma are now being offered bespoke training and support to allow them to inject bortezomib, in either their tummy, abdomen or thigh, in their own home.
Bortezomib is a proteome inhibitor. Proteomes are found in cells and help to break down the proteins that the cell does not need.
The treatment blocks the proteomes, so the proteins build up inside the cell, and the cancer cell then dies, noted the trust.
Following their training, patients are given a batch of injections and are telephoned weekly while on their treatment and more frequently if required, as well as having access to a 24-hour helpline.
Jennifer Lawn, haematology clinical nurse specialist, was involved in setting up the nurse-devised home chemotherapy scheme.
She said: “We are really excited to be able to offer the opportunity for patients to be able to self-administer their chemotherapy at home.
“This presents significant benefits for both the patients and hospital staff,” she said.
Sarah Clarkson, haematology clinical support sister, added that there were “multiple benefits” to be gained from the new practice.
She highlighted that these included patient convenience, patient empowerment, improved quality of life, reduced health-care utilisation and reduced hospital visits.
One of the first patients to self-administer their chemotherapy was 57-year-old Lizzie Preston. She said: “It’s easy to do, a lot more people could be doing it themselves.”