Home comforts 'the best medicine' for cancer survivor

Friday, October 25, 2019 infectionnursing
Home comforts 'the best medicine' for cancer survivor Jill Jager, pictured in her garden with dog Molly, said being able to recover from bladder cancer at home has been a blessing.
Behind the curtain highlights some of the many patients Bendigo Health care for on a daily basis.

Jill Jager thought nothing of her regular trips to the toilet during the night.

But when she mentioned during a carer’s assessment, she was quickly put in contact with a continence nurse.

“She was my lifesaver really,” Jill reflected.

Less than a month later she was on the operating table, having been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

“I was in there from 7.30am to 11.15pm – it took so long to get it all out,” she said.

Jill was in hospital for three weeks and lost 20 kilograms in the process, but complications after surgery meant she had regular operations over the next few months.

“I was in and out of hospital. I wasn’t at all happy,” she said.

Once her health improved, Jill was transferred to Bendigo Health’s Hospital in the Home (HITH) service, which provides at-home care for patients that would otherwise be admitted to hospital for treatment.

Her dog Molly, cat pebbles and husband Paul were all glad to have her back.

“Just being able to potter around in garden made a huge difference. It’s been brilliant and helped my recovery greatly,” she said.

Bendigo Health’s HITH team would visit Jill daily to administer IV antibiotics and re-dress and pack wounds.

“To know that staff were always at the end of the phone was a great comfort,” she said.

HITH is available to patients who live within a 30 kilometre radius of Bendigo and runs similar to an inpatient ward, where the length of stay is determined by the course of treatment.

Bendigo Health admits 480 people to the HITH service on average each year and patients do not neccessarily have to have an in home carer to qualify for the service.

Bendigo Health HITH Nurse Unit Manager Biljana Ansted said research has proved patients recover more effectively at home or in other suitable locations, and have fewer complications like infection, delirium and confusion.

“We survey all of our discharged patients and the overwhelming feedback we get is about the great nursing care that is provided and that patients can have this all done in their own homes,” she said.

More information on the HITH service can be found here.