Michelle Johnson wears a fanny pack that contains her chemotherapy
infusion. It allows her to be at home while getting treatment.
There's No Place Like Home:
When Michelle Johnson was diagnosed with cancer a second time, she decided
to rely upon a resource that had helped her the first time around: the ability to receive inpatient-like hospital services in
the comfort of her own home.
Home-based treatments are a welcome option
Johnson used University of Michigan Home Care services after her initial surgery for esophageal cancer. U-M nurses helped
with her PICC line, changed her dressings, provided nutritional supplements and educated her about her home-based chemotherapy --
all in the comfort of her own home.
"From day one, I felt completely comfortable and well taken care of," Johnson says.
When the 32-year-old graphic designer had a recurrence eight months later, she decided to use the home-care route again.
Johnson goes to the Cancer Center every other week for her infusion. She stays for about two hours to get one chemotherapy
infusion, then goes home with a fanny pack containing a second infusion. She hooks it to her port and wears it continuously for
46 hours before disconnecting it at home. A Home Care nurse helps her several times a week with the fanny pack infusion.
Home Care Services
A variety of services are available through home care. This can
- Access to medical equipment
- Delivery of medication
- Visits from registered nurses, physical therapists and social
- Help with running errands, meal preparation and personal
Talk to your health care team about what options are right for you.
Learn more in our Guide to Home Care Services.
"I feel like a regular person," Johnson says. "If I had to sit for two or three days in the hospital's infusion center every week,
it would take an emotional toll on me. This way, it doesn't slow me down. With my home chemo, it enables me to do things
I want to do. I go out to dinner with friends, I go to fundraisers, I can even do some freelance work now and then."
As more cancer treatments can be done in an outpatient clinic, rather than requiring overnight hospital stays, the next step
in care is to bring more services right to patients' homes. Often, patients or their families are asked to handle connecting
or disconnecting catheters or pumps, changing dressings and administering injections themselves.
"One of the reasons home care runs so smoothly is that so many procedures have been standardized and coordinated between
HomeMed and the U-M Cancer Center," says Debra Kovacevich, M.P.H., B.S.N., R.N., nurse manager at
HomeMed. "With such high standards of hospital care, it is easy to transfer standard processes to home care. We also have many patient education
materials tailored to our patients."
Continue reading There's No Place Like Home: Home-based treatments are a welcome option
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