Hospital-at-home program to help cancer patients and their
CALGARY, Alberta, June 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As a competitive dancer and avid equestrian, Lauren Gamble’s life changed completely on August 13, 2021. Lauren was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that most often occurs in the long bones around the knee. Alberta Children’s Hospital explained that osteosarcoma most commonly occurs in children, teens and young adults – it’s the same type of cancer that Terry Fox battled. For many patients, symptoms of osteosarcoma include pain or swelling in the affected bone and decreased mobility in the affected limb. For Lauren, hers started with pain that was later confirmed to be a brick-sized mass pushing into her leg. Luckily for Lauren, she was able to receive part of her treatment through Hospital at Home, a first-of-its-kind program in Canada funded by donations to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Shortly after her diagnosis, Lauren began 10 months of intense chemotherapy and an 18-hour surgery to remove the tumor and affected bones from her legs. The medical team reconstructed what was removed during the procedure with prosthetics and muscles from other parts of his body. More recently, she underwent a thoracotomy to remove nodules in her lungs.
The Mental, Emotional and Financial Challenges of a Cancer Diagnosis
For cancer patients, one of the most difficult challenges is being away from home, the familiarity of home-cooked meals and the comfort of their own bed – all of which can have a significant impact on mental health and emotion of a patient.
The Hospital at Home service sends trained nurses to the patient’s home for chemotherapy, drug administration and other supportive therapies. This drastically reduces travel time and generic costs such as parking, gas and meals.
Lauren’s mother, Lindsays, says, “Hospital at Home is such a godsend. Without it, we would have spent over 50 more nights in the hospital. This program gave Lauren the will to survive and persevere despite the terrible treatment. The familiarity of family meals, smells, and one’s own bed were important. Even more essential was the ability to “be” a teenager surrounded by those she loved. I will be eternally grateful. You can see Lauren’s page here.
Helping families like Lauren’s
Many significant costs are associated with cancer. Particularly for osteosarcoma, patients need medical supplies, home improvements, an adjustable bed, a wheelchair, a walker and, for Lauren, hearing aids, as chemotherapy has damaged his hearing permanently.
Donations and programs help families like Lauren’s ease the financial burden and allow them to focus on their child’s care, rehabilitation, making memories and spending quality time in one of the situations most difficult a family can face.
The Gamble family is especially grateful for the help of their community and generous donors: “We would like to thank Randy and Cameron Schiffner and the entire Family First Financial group for your generous monetary donation as we continue our battle for fighting cancer.”
For Lauren and her family, the surgeries and treatments have been successful, but the journey is far from over. Visit the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation website to learn more about how you can help babies, children and teens receive the best care possible. If you have concerns and want to speak to someone, call (403) 955-7211.
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