The VA Outpatient Chemotherapy Clinic sees approximately 870 veterans each year. Of these, 5% receive home-infusion chemotherapy. COVID-19 created staffing challenges for the contracted homeinfusion company utilized by the VA for home-infusion chemotherapy. The VA developed a self-contained home-infusion program for 5-FU to ensure needed care could be delivered to veterans without delay.
After researching private sector and VA models of providing home-infusion chemotherapy services, analyzing literature, internal VA patient safety data, and financial implications of different home-infusion pump options, including both CADD pumps and elastomeric pumps, CADD pumps were determined to be the best financial option and safest option for providing home-infusion 5-FU through the VA. Patient education documents were created from CADD pump user manuals and literature.
A home-infusion program for 5-FU chemotherapy was implemented at the VA Outpatient Chemotherapy Clinic in March 2022. Veterans receive a home-infusion pump, 5-FU, education, and access to a 24-hour telephone support line staffed by an oncology registered nurse through the VA. Patient education consists of home-infusion pump training, implanted port de-accessing, chemotherapy spill management, and hazardous waste disposal.
Ten veterans have started their home-infusion portion of therapy through the VA, amounting to 34 completed cycles, between March 2022 and June 2022. This program is completely self-contained within the VA Outpatient Chemotherapy Clinic. It has allowed for initiation and continuation of needed chemotherapy regimens in an environment of staffing instability at the contracted home-infusion company. The home-infusion program required the acquisition of home-infusion pumps and supplies. The home-infusion pumps can be reused by another patient after completion of treatment making this program sustainable. Existing VA medical oncology staffing was utilized with the additional need for oncology nurses to take calls to provide 24-hour telephone support for any pumprelated issues that may arise during home-infusion therapy. A VA home-infusion program allows for veterans to receive seamless cancer care through one entity. This program is replicable at other VAs and can be expanded to include other forms of home-infusion therapy, such as antibiotics.