Cancer patient-centered home care: a new model for health care in oncology
Paolo Tralongo1, Francesco Ferraù2, Nicolò Borsellino3, Francesco Verderame4, Michele Caruso5, Dario Giuffrida6, Alfredo Butera7, Vittorio Gebbia8
1Medical Oncology Unit, Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale, Siracusa; 2Medical Oncology Unit, Ospedale San Vincenzo, Taormina; 3Medical Oncology Unit, Ospedale Buccheri La Ferla, Palermo; 4Medical Oncology Unit, Ospedale Giovanni Paolo II, Sciacca; 5Medical Oncology Unit, Istituto Humanitas, Catania; 6Medical Oncology Unit, Istituto Oncologico del Mediterraneo, Catania; 7Medical Oncology Unit, Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio, Agrigento; 8Medical Oncology Unit, Dipartimento Oncologico, La Maddalena, Università degli Studi, Palermo, Italy
Abstract: Patient-centered home care is a new model of assistance, which may be integrated with more traditional hospital-centered care especially in selected groups of informed and trained patients. Patient-centered care is based on patients' needs rather than on prognosis, and takes into account the emotional and psychosocial aspects of the disease. This model may be applied to elderly patients, who present comorbid diseases, but it also fits with the needs of younger fit patients. A specialized multidisciplinary team coordinated by experienced medical oncologists and including pharmacists, psychologists, nurses, and social assistance providers should carry out home care. Other professional figures may be required depending on patients' needs. Every effort should be made to achieve optimal coordination between the health professionals and the reference hospital and to employ shared evidence-based guidelines, which in turn guarantee safety and efficacy. Comprehensive care has to be easily accessible and requires a high level of education and knowledge of the disease for both the patients and their caregivers. Patient-centered home care represents an important tool to improve quality of life and help cancer patients while also being cost effective.
Keywords: cancer, home care, chemotherapy, biologic agents
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