Bupa reports increased use of home-based chemotherapy

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Bupa has reported a significant increase in the use of home-based chemotherapy as patients avoid going to a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Cindy Shay, Bupa director of Health Care Management and Innovation at Bupa, undergoing chemotherapy at any time, not least during a global pandemic, can be a very stressful experience for a patient and their family.

“Testing positive for COVID-19 is a concern for everyone, but particularly for the elderly and those with compromised immunity such as patients undergoing cancer treatment. Where clinically appropriate, many immuno-suppressed patients are taking heightened precautions to reduce their exposure to the virus,” said Ms Shay.

“Bupa’s Chemotherapy Choices Program enables patients to receive treatment in the familiar and controlled environment of their own home.”

Bupa is one of several insurers to offer chemotherapy at home.

Bupa partnered with service provider chemo@home in 2018 to provide eligible customers a Chemotherapy Choices Program. The service is delivered by specially trained nurses and pharmacists.

The insurer said Australian and international clinical studies have found chemotherapy treatment delivered at home can be a safe and effective alternative to having chemotherapy treatment in hospital.

It also helps reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections and may minimise side effects, such as nausea, anaemia, and dehydration in some people due to the personalised nature of the care they receive.

“Patients and family can also be assured that the chemo@home nurses and pharmacists are delivering safe, patient-centric services that strictly adhere to infection control policies, standard contact and droplet precautions and government regulations relating to COVID-19,” added Ms Shay.

Bupa said it Chemotherapy Choices Program is currently available to eligible customers in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, with services planned to commence in Brisbane this month.