Did you know that not every hospital makes their own chemotherapy?
At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, we house a unique compounding pharmacy, which means we personalise all sorts of medications. Our services are specifically tailored and crafted for our patients with cancer, including chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy doesn’t just get made; there’s a lot of planning that goes with it. There are standards around labelling for safe identification and preparation for it to become a safe product to release to nursing staff.
Depending on the drug’s complexity, our Pharmacy Technicians will make a patient’s chemotherapy the day before their treatment. Additionally,
if some of the products included in the chemotherapy have a short shelf life, the technicians will make it just before the patient arrives at their seat in Day Therapy.
“We make chemotherapy based on each individual patient’s dose, one at a time. We can also make it whenever a patient needs it,” explains Michael Soriano, the Director of Pharmacy.
Having the resources to make chemotherapy in-house means our pharmacists are flexible to adapt to any changes required.
“If a patient turns up and their weight has changed from their previous appointment, or if their kidney function has changed, they will need a different dose; we can make changes to the drug, so they can still have their treatment without delay,” says Michael.
Hospitals that use a third party usually order the drugs the day before, which means what they have on the day of treatment is what they have. Any dose changes would be hard to accommodate.
“We have had patients who have just been given a cancer diagnosis by their doctor and have requested to start treatment straight away; we were able to make that happen for them,” Michael explains.
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is a collaborative space. Having everything under one roof means the Pharmacy Department can work alongside clinicians, significantly benefiting our patients.
By working together, they can address uncomfortable side effects of cancer treatments, creating solutions like a compounded mouthwash that helps with mouth ulcers, a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“Keeping the mouth moist during radiotherapy treatment is of the utmost importance, otherwise as soon as you start speaking you can experience cracks and lacerations, so some of the products our pharmacy makes are specially designed for our patients to make their daily living easier.”
“Having patient care at the centre of everything we do, means we get to look forward into the horizon to see what’s possible.” - Michael Soriano, Director of Pharmacy.
The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Pharmacy is one of the many ways we strive to provide personalised cancer-care, in the hopes of making a patients treatment journey as easy as possible and with the best possible outcomes.
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