Home Care for children with cancer

Main partner: ING Bank România

Sponsori: Rompetrol,  Allianz Țiriac,   Synevo România

Children with cancer require long-term medical care.

The management of pediatric cancers (during and after treatment) is a very demanding process for the affected families, not only physically and mentally, but also socially and financially. Parents and children are constrained to travel many times to the hospital, which brings an additional burden that negatively impacts the social, emotional, and educational development of the child. The stressful process related to hospitalization periods and the schedule of visits to outpatient clinics exposes the young patients to risks, particularly to infections.

We provide children with cancer with a free medical care service delivered for those procedures from the treatment plan, as devised by the attending physician, that can be safely carried out at home.

Our project aims to increase access to free medical services for these children, especially for those living in disadvantaged rural areas.

1. Services available in the program:

  • Collection of blood samples for lab tests
  • Administration of medication
  • Assessment and monitoring of the child between chemotherapy courses
  • Assessment of the quality of life and functional status using standardized international assessment tools
  • Training family members on how to care for the child
  • Psychological assessment and counseling
  • Social assessment and counseling
  • Palliative care

2. Resources

This program is carried out in collaboration with Pediatric Oncology and Hematology Units in Romania, with nurses experienced in the care of children with cancer, trained and coordinated by specialized doctors. This service is developed within the strategic partnership with the Romanian Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology.

The home care program is managed on a digital platform (DARA), which integrates the services provided at home into the child’s complete digital medical record. Data resulted from home visits are inputed into DARA to provide the attending physicians, wherever they are, the opportunity for continuous monitoring of the child’s status, including when they are not in the hospital.

3. Where are we currently operating?

The program is currently implemented in collaboration with:

  • Oncology Institute Bucharest – Pediatric Oncology Department (for the Bucharest-Ilfov area and neighboring counties)
  • Constanta County Emergency Hospital – Pediatric Oncology Department (for the Dobrogea region)

4. Results

  • 370 patients and their families have been spared from traveling over 110,000 km to the hospital.
  • Over 1,800 hospitalizations in pediatric oncology departments have been saved by the home visits.
  • 7,300 laboratory tests were conducted at home, free of charge.
  • 370 families received counseling and practical training for the care of sick children.
  • 13 nurses have acquired enhanced communication and nursing skills.
  • Standardized procedures for clinical evaluation and monitoring of potential side effects of the therapy performed at home were developed and implemented.
  • Surveys aligned to international standards for assessing functional status and quality of life were developed and implemented.
  • A telepractice guide for caring for children with cancer was developed and tested (validated by international practice).
  • Operational procedures for the management of mobile pediatric oncology-hematology services (criteria, dispatch procedures, information flows, etc.) were developed.

5. What’s Next

We will increase the number of beneficiaries included in the home care program for children under the care of the pediatric oncology-hematology departments at Marie Curie Children’s Hospital and Fundeni Clinical Institute. These services will be provided by the medical staff in these departments.

6. Sustainability

The innovative vision of our program is to create a best practice model that can be replicated in other pediatric oncology sections or for other serious pediatric and adult pathologies.

Together with the Romanian Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology, we submitted our proposals for the National Cancer Control Plan (Pediatric Cancer section), proposals that are included in the law approved by Parliament in 2022.

Both our projects, the Home Care Program and DARA platform reflect the provisions included in the National Cancer Control Plan the chapter on Pediatric Cancers, specifically:  “Development of integrated multidisciplinary Pediatric Oncology-Hematology services for all stages of the clinical course, through innovative applications of information technology.”

 

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