Jamie Bachman, Executive Director of Oncology and Brian Shields, Manager of Performance Improvement, Oncology Service Line, at UCHealth shared the best practices UCHealth’s 12 infusion centers have implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The key concepts shared during the webinar can be grouped into the following large themes
Reduce the number of patients coming to the health system by canceling elective surgery, moving as many appointments to telemedicine as possible and working with the oncologists to identify patients whose infusion could be delayed, moved to an in-home setting or be modified to an equivalent oral regimen.
Protect the safety of patients and staff by limiting visitors, pre-screening to find symptomatic patients, conducting in-person screening and distributing masks to patients showing symptoms. Create distance between patients in the waiting room by removing chairs and in the infusion treatment room by utilizing every other chair in order to create separation. Spread essential staff out to locations vacated by remote workers.
Design effective schedules for the staff in order to encourage work-from-home if possible. Creating a jeopardy plan for clinical providers by rotating off-campus to decrease the risk of staff exposure and burnout (team on the bench) and pre-planning disease site cross coverage. This will require more staggered shifts and potentially longer hours to spread out the patients since fewer chairs and staff are being used.
Manage the use of PPE wisely by allocating 1 mask per day/per staff member and only replacing it if it gets soiled or damaged. Identify a subset of drugs that can be safely administered without a gown. Maintain physical control of the PPE so that the inventory doesn’t get depleted by patients and staff helping themselves.
Modify infusion patient care using 2-factor industry guidelines. Use ASCO recommendations to weigh the benefits of therapy against risks of being exposed or having side effects, plus more specific CDC guidance based on date fever broke and onset of other symptoms. Attending physician can then make determination to continue treatment in symptomatic, suspected or COVID positive patients.
Founder and CEO
Manager of Performance Improvement
Oncology Service Line
Executive Director of Oncology