Hospital at Home

Enhancing Care in the Community

Oncology nurse Shelaine Semmens visits mom Hilary Daum and her son Sage Amor at their home.

Sage Amor was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was just two-and-a-half years old.

Following surgery to remove part of the tumour, Sage’s parents were told that their little boy would have to undergo 70 weeks of chemotherapy, to shrink the remaining tumour that could not be removed.

This could have meant long, exhausting hours spent at a hospital – a challenging and possibly scary thing for any little kid.

However, Sage and his family were referred to the Hospital at Home program, based out of Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary.

The program is the first of its kind in Canada and provides chemotherapy and other oncology care in a pediatric patient’s home.

For Sage and his parents, this meant they could get the majority of the care and treatment Sage needed, without having to go to a hospital.

“This program has had a huge impact on our lives and the ability to lead a more regular life,” Sage’s mom, Hilary Daum says. “It’s comforting to have Sage sit on my lap and be surrounded by all his toys while he’s getting treatment.”

The Hospital at Home program was established in 2012 to assist families/patients receiving Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplant (HOT) care.

In Sage’s case, the nurse performs a complete physical exam on each patient at each visit, including blood pressure, temperature, oxygen saturation, and heart rate. The patient is then given the

chemotherapy through a medication pump into an intravenous line placed into the chest. The entire process takes approximately 45 minutes.

Through the program, specialized oncology nurses deliver therapies, medications and chemotherapy to children in their homes. More than 3,000 Hospital at Home visits have occurred since the program

began in 2012 and 45 new HOT patients are referred to the program each year, ranging in age from 0 – 17 years of age.

The Hospital at Home program has expanded the types of care provided to patients in the home as well as increasing the days of service offered from five days a week to seven days a week and accounts for

approximately 15 per cent of outpatient treatments for HOT patients.

A huge benefit of the program is that it allows families to maintain a regular schedule and reduce the amount of work, school and other activities missed as a result of in-hospital treatment.

Daum added, “I can’t express the impact this program has had on our entire family, and especially on Sage. Being so young, having the least amount of stress possible by not having to go to the hospital is huge, not only for today, but his future development as well.”