Sláintecare is the Government’s widely-publicised 10-year plan to radically transform the provision of healthcare in Ireland. It’s Implementation Strategy outlined the tough challenges facing the country’s health system, recognising the Irish health service was facing extraordinary challenges that required an extraordinary response.
SACT patient care
Similarly, the practice of systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) has changed in recent years, with new advances in treatments, resulting in improved outcomes and increased survival for many cancer patients. Coupled with this, the method of delivery of SACT has developed with many medical oncology and haemato-oncology treatments now suitable for administration in the community.
Many aspects of supportive care for patients receiving SACT are also now well-suited for community provision.
In Ireland, as in other developed countries, the number of cancer patients and SACT activity is projected to increase in the run up to 2045.
Delivering SACT closer to the patients’ home and away from the acute hospital setting is acknowledged internationally as important for both the patient experience during their cancer treatment, as well as for relieving capacity issues in hospital-based day wards. It will require commitment across government, the political system, the health service and the public to achieve these changes in healthcare delivery.
Brave new world
There are a number of privately-run healthcare providers in Ireland who are more than willing to become stakeholders in this brave new world. But there can be few, if any, better equipped to do so than TCP Homecare, given the company’s origins, says Commercial Director Padraig Duff.
TCP Homecare specialises in delivering innovative clinical services to meet the requirements of a new emerging healthcare environment in Ireland centred on the care of the patient in the comfort of their home or in a community healthcare clinic. The company employs over 220 staff, including nurses, medics, pharmacists and support staff with a homecare philosophy incorporating the holistic care of patients and the promotion of health and wellbeing through professionalism and compassion.
Unconditional respect is guaranteed to patients and families at all times. TCP Homecare provide services on behalf of the HSE, private insurers and many of Ireland’s leading pharmaceutical companies. TCP Homecare has acquired a reputation for quality and excellence in the provision of clinical homecare services including:
• Dispense, Delivery and Administration of IV antibiotics in the Home (OPAT – Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy)
• Provision of Community Intervention Team (CIT) nursing services in partnership with the HSE – a specialist nurse led team which provides a rapid and integrated response to
patients with an acute episode of illness who requires enhanced services/acute intervention for a defined short period of time.
• Development of Community Oncology Outreach Services with a number of key hospital treating centres, supporting the administration of chemotherapy and the provision of other oncology support services closer to the patient’s home
• IV Home Infusion of Orphan products in the treatment of rare diseases
• Total Parenteral Nutrition and Enteral Feeding Support in the home
• Chronic Disease Management Programmes
• Patient Training and Education services, empowering patients to self-administer treatment where appropriate
TCP Homecare’s vision
Looking to the future, Padraig Duff says his company’s vision for community care is aligned to Sláintecare’s own 10-year plan and the objectives of the NCCP. The CSO predicts Ireland’s population could grow to 6.7million from the present level of 4.74million by 2051, with a changing demographic resulting in a rise in chronic conditions as people live longer. The current hospital-centric model of healthcare fails because ‘one size doesn’t fit all’.
“The partnerships we are involved with, ranging from the HSE to pharmaceutical company sponsored patient support programmes and private insurer service offerings, have resulted in first-class nurse-led services operated by our highly-skilled staff,” Duff says.