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Tata Memorial Hospital launches post-chemotherapy helpline unit
Mumbai: Addressing the lack of knowledge available about after-chemo care for cancer patients, Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel has decided to launch a 24x7 “Post-Chemotherapy Care Unit” (CCU) to provide support to patients by educating them on the prevention and management of chemotherapy-related side effects. This unit is the first of its kind in India, launched especially for...
Mumbai: Addressing the lack of knowledge available about after-chemo care for cancer patients, Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), Parel has decided to launch a 24x7 “Post-Chemotherapy Care Unit” (CCU) to provide support to patients by educating them on the prevention and management of chemotherapy-related side effects.
This unit is the first of its kind in India, launched especially for cancer patients who experience any distress following chemotherapy administration. This facility will extend its support by educating them on the side effects of chemotherapy through the CCU helpline service.
Nurses who are involved in chemo care can improve the quality of life and survival rate of chemotherapy patients. Therefore, considering the outcome, the hospital launched the CCU after a three-month pilot project.
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Initially, a pilot project was organized with one of the medical oncology units, which had received 2,000 calls. After scrutinizing the response, the TMH decided to extend the CCU services to other segments like paediatric oncology and blood cancer.
In August 2022, the project began with selecting 10 nurses who underwent two months of training on chemotherapy-related side effect management and hands-on experience in the classroom. The nurses were placed in three shifts, providing patients access to healthcare personnel 24 hours a day.
Talking about this to HT, Dr Vikas Ostwal, professor of medical oncology, said, “The idea of the CCU is to provide support to the patient on the prevention and management of chemotherapy-related side effects over the telephone. Most of our patients come from far-off places. Once they are home and have side effects, they can reach out to us. We have observed that many times, patients assume that chemotherapy will have side effects and ignore them, translating into major side effects too. The CCU bridges the communication gap once the patients leave the hospital.”
“We launched the CCU for solid tumours among adults in August 2022, for which we trained 10 nurses for the management of chemotherapy-related side effects. The nurses operate in three shifts. The model received a positive response and our patients were happy. About 20% of patients calling the helpline had severe side effects that were managed due to early intervention. The rest were minors, who were also handled by simple interventions,” Dr Kumar Prabhash, professor, head division of solid tumour medical oncology, said.
Dr Shripad Banavali, director of academics said, “The nurses assess the distress/complaints for its severity. If the complaint is mild/minor, they advise on appropriate lifestyle, dietary modification, or medication that is already prescribed for the patient. If the complaints are severe, the patients are advised to get admitted to a nearby hospital. The nurses coordinate with the hospital and make sure the complaints are resolved.”
In collaboration with NGO Karo, the CCU is being rolled out by the hospital and is manned by trained nurses.
Also read- Tata Memorial Centre, Vedanta BALCO Medical Centre Collaborate For Cancer Care
BA in Journalism and Mass Communication
Exploring and learning something new has always been my sole motto. I completed my BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from Calcutta University. I joined Medical Dialogues in 2022. I mainly cover the latest health news, hospital news, medical college, and doctors' news.