Emergency room visits are costly and take a lot of time patients with cancer don’t have, which is why the creation of a 24-hour clinic to address cancer related symptoms and treatment side effects could prove vital for patients.
Patients with a rare blood cancer like myeloproliferative neoplasms need constant care to address symptoms and side effects associated with their treatments, but often a trip to the emergency room is out of the question for these patients.
This is why Laura Michaelis, MD, set out to help create a 24-hour care clinic as part of the Medical College of Wisconsin cancer center to help patients address these symptoms, without the costly emergency room visit.
Michaelis, an associate professor at the medical college of Wisconsin, was honored at the MPN Heroes event for her work with this clinic. After the event, she had the chance to speak with CURE about how it came about and how a clinic like this can greatly benefit patients with MPN.
Yeah, this is something we're very proud of. It wasn't actually my idea. It was sort of a brainchild, we had to renovate several floors of our hospital, and the option was, could we take some of those inpatient rooms and make them into an outpatient, basically an acute care clinic. So, we've done that; we have four beds, which are only for cancer patients.
It's not really like an emergency room, you can't just show up there, but the physicians can direct patients there if they think it's a problem or that can be managed without having to go the emergency room. Something like nausea, dehydration, may be a question of whether or not there's arm swelling or a rash that needs to be treated.
One of the things that's greatest about this is, first off, it's for our surgical patients, our medical oncology patients, all our blood cancer patients, and it's staffed by oncology trained nurses, advanced practice providers and doctors. You can go there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you don't have to sit in the emergency room, you don't have to wait for your care.
Now, it's not appropriate for everything, but in those conditions where it is appropriate, we found that not only are people less likely to get admitted, meaning that we're more likely to be able to fix what's hurting them without having to admit them to a hospital bed, but we use fewer tests to find out that and we spend less per patient than they do in the emergency room.
So the patients love it, because everybody hates emergency room, and it also is a way to ensure that our patients who have really unique urgent care needs are getting cancer directed care.