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Hospital at Home

Jaime will never forget the day she took her two-year-old son, Liam for his check-up. The family doctor felt a mass in the little boy’s abdomen and sent him for an ultrasound. Within hours, Jaime and Dad, Jeff, were on their way to the Alberta Children’s Hospital where the pediatric oncology team was waiting for Liam.

Liam_Jaime_Radiothon_Day2A CT scan found a cancer on Liam’s kidneys called Wilms Tumour. Liam was admitted to the Alberta Children’s Hospital that night, with surgery scheduled the next morning. This was just the beginning of his family’s journey – Liam needed 15 weeks of chemotherapy. Jaime and Jeff were concerned about managing their new situation and in particular how their small boy was going to handle the treatments.

Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, the Alberta Children’s Hospital pediatric oncology team has launched a pilot program called Hospital at Home. Fortunately for Liam and his family, this community-funded program meant many of the chemotherapy infusions Liam required could take place at their house.

This first in Canada service offers children certain chemotherapy, medications and procedures in the comfort of their own homes surrounded by the people and things they love most. Treatment at home could take 5 to 45 minutes, while an appointment in hospital could take several hours.

For the 15 chemotherapy treatments Liam needed over six months, he only required four in hospital. At home, Liam would sit on his Mom’s lap and play songs or read stories while the medications were infused by his nurse. He could have a snack if he wanted and cuddle his blanket on the couch. Within an hour of his nurse arriving, Liam was back in the yard playing with big brother, Aidan.

In addition to making life easier for the child, Hospital at Home has made life significantly less stressful for parents who have other children or work schedules to juggle when caring for a child with cancer. With the expense of babysitting for siblings, gas, parking and meals eliminated, the financial toll of a childhood cancer diagnosis is also reduced.

Liam tolerated his treatments well, which his parents feel was largely because of the Hospital at Home program. Even though they were in the midst of cancer, Jaime says they have great memories of his treatment, and enjoyed the time they spent with their incredible nursing team.

With his therapies now finished, this active little boy is doing well, enjoying playtime outside and with his brother.

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