For one day out of every 30, local cancer and immunology patients must make the trek to Nambour Hospital and spend at least three to six hours hooked up to an intravenous infusion machine for life-saving immunoglobulin therapy, without which their bodies would be unable to fight infection and disease.
At least, that is what patients had to do before Wishlist’s funding of nine NIKI Pumps worth $23,750 which gives patients the convenience of being able to self-inject the treatment in the comfort of their own home rather than attending the hospital each month.
In a groundbreaking first for Queensland, in March 2014 the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) introduced a new subcutaneous program treatment option where patients can self-administer the treatment, meaning less stress for patients and their families in getting to the hospital every month and increased bed availability for other patients.
Leanne Hollis, Transfusion Clinical Nurse Consultant from the Patient Safety and Quality Unit, said patients undertake training to learn how to self-inject and then can take control of their own treatment in a home environment. The NIKI Pumps are returned to the unit when they are no longer needed ready to be given to the next patient.
“We have recruited 15 patients onto the subcutaneous immunoglobulin program since March with five patients currently using the NIKI pumps,” Leanne said. “This has been a very successful program and the SCHHS is the first to introduce it in Queensland.
“Wishlist’s donation of nine NIKI Pumps makes it much easier for patients to inject the immunoglobulin therapy, especially for patients with decreased hand strength, as they are small, electronic pumps which automatically infuse the product.”
The most obvious benefit is the improved convenience for patients by removing the need for them to spend a day every month in hospital, but Leanne said other benefits of self-injection include less hospital admissions, less reactions and adverse events as lower doses are administered each week and reduced infection episodes as the weekly treatment ensures immunoglobulin levels remain stable.
Kidney transplant patient Mathew Hempstalk is one of the five who are trialing the new NIKI Pumps, and said the improved lifestyle and taking control of his own treatment has been a godsend. “With the monthly hospital visits I had to take a lot of time off, or try to work at the same time which was tough,” Mathew said.
“Now being able to self-infuse weekly at home I can carry on working or even do the transfusion while at work, and I don’t have to watch the clock or try to make up hours as during the course of the day I have flexibility of when I can do the treatment. “
The nine NIKI Pumps were funded thanks to the proceeds of the Wishlist Row for Cancer, an annual event that combines surf, sun and sport to raise funds for local cancer initiatives.
Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said with the ninth annual Wishlist Row for Cancer coming up on the sixth of September, this was a timely reminder that the support of the wider community can have a big impact of the wellbeing and comfort of local patients.
“I encourage every member of the community to support the 2014 Wishlist Row for Cancer so we can continue to cross significant items such as the NIKI Pumps off the ‘wish list’ for the benefit of cancer patients here on the Sunshine Coast,” Lisa said.
Visit wishlist.org.au for more information on the Wishlist Row for Cancer, Saturday September 6