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The Ottawa Hospital Wins Quality Award for outpatient cancer program – Allows advanced cancer patients to stay and be treated in their homes

November 30, 2012 – An outpatient CARE program that that allows advanced cancer patients to stay and be treated in their homes rather than being admitted to hospital has won The Ottawa Hospital the 2012 Quality Award in the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario’s (CQCO) annual Quality and Innovation competition.

“In the current climate of diminishing resources in health care it is important that we provide high quality, cost effective care for our patients. The success of our program is based on three key factors: the dedication and expertise of our inter-professional team who collaborate with colleagues in many settings to ensure consistency, quality and continuity of care; the provision of individualized and personalized care based on the unique symptom management and palliative needs of our patients; and the ability to do this in an outpatient clinic with the majority of care provided in the home. The program provides effective, efficient care, minimizes wait times and prevents hospital admissions for these patients. Cost savings to the system overall while ensuring safe, high quality care at home is an added benefit,” said Dr. Kayvan Amjadi and Lynn Kachuik RN, APN of The Ottawa Hospital. “When we asked our patients what would improve their quality of life during this phase of their illness, a common theme was their desire to be treated at home. As a result, the CARE program was developed.”

The Ottawa Hospital’s CARE (Chronic Ascites and Recurrent Effusion) Program, developed collaboratively with the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), allows patients with a pleural effusion (a build-up of fluid around their lungs) or with ascites (fluid buildup in the abdomen)  to be provided care in the outpatient  setting and ultimately in their homes rather than be admitted to hospital. Under the program, doctors insert a catheter to allow drainage of the fluid in the home setting. Patients have expressed high degrees of satisfaction with the support from clinic staff and community nurses and the rapidity of access to advice if issues arise.

The program annually provides care for about 200 patients with a build-up of fluid around a lung, and has resulted in a savings of 3,200 bed days per year or approximately $3.8 million. A calculation of costs¸ including those incurred by the CCAC and the costs of the CARE program, show a net cost savings to the system of close to $1 million in a year for pleural effusion management.

“This year’s Quality and Innovation awards recognize those who have significantly improved the level and delivery of quality care throughout Ontario and helped spur innovation in caring for cancer patients,” said Dr. Robert Bell, Chair of CQCO and President and CEO of the University Health Network. “The initiatives launched by this year’s award winners hold tremendous promise and potential in continuing and accelerating important progress in cancer care.”

The annual awards, sponsored by CQCO, Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), and the Ontario Division of the Canadian Cancer Society, recognize organizations that have made significant contributions to quality or innovation in the delivery of cancer care across Ontario.

Now in their seventh year, the awards honour the development of new approaches, processes, products, or programs that are bold, original and significantly enhance cancer care in Ontario through their impact on stakeholders, their meaningfulness to patients, and their cost effectiveness and sustainability.

Media contact:
Hazel Harding
Communications Advisor, The Ottawa Hospital
T: 613-737-8460