Ambulatory care is a treatment option made possible by the development of high technology intravenous infusion pumps called CADD pumps. It means that you can have a variety of treatments, including high dose chemotherapy sleeping either at home or in the Bexley Wing hotel on Level 8. Please click on this link for more information.
Who can have ambulatory care?
Your consultant must agree that ambulatory care would suit you. This is the only criterion.
To stay at home you must -
- Live within a 30 min travel time to St James’s Hospital
- Have a relative or friend who is able to drive you to the hospital, day or night if you are able to do so.
- Have a mobile phone so we can contact you at any time, or you contact us.
If any of these don’t apply, you cannot stay at home but you can still have ambulatory care based from the Bexley Wing hotel. This hotel is like any other hotel, but located on-site. It is a convenience offered to minimise travel and no medical or nursing care is offered to guests who stay in it. Follow this link for more information of about the Bexley wing hotel
What advantages does Ambulatory Care offer me?
- Staying at home or in the hotel offers you a comfortable environment during your treatment, whilst you have and receive full nursing and medical care.
- Between the hours of 8am and 6pm, you will receive the same treatment as in the inpatient ward.
- If you are having chemotherapy, your treatment may be given through a small portable pump called a CADD pump, which you carry in a specially designed rucksack or bum-bag. This will allow you to continue daily life away from hospital.
- We hope it will give you more privacy, independence and help you continue with more normal home-life.
- Your partner or relative may stay with you in the hotel throughout treatment, there are twin beds available.
When you are coming for treatment your car parking is free.
Your first visit to ACU
Your first visit will involve a pre-chemotherapy assessment day with the nurse. This will last approximately an hour and a half. This will make sure you fully understand how your treatment is given, side effects of treatment and what to do if you become unwell. We will also explain to you how the chemotherapy pump works and give you information about it. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions and make sure you are happy with the arrangements.
We will also discuss where you will stay during your treatment, either at home or in the hotel. If you wish to stay in the hotel we will be able to arrange the booking for you throughout your treatment.
What happens during ACU opening hours (day time)
A typical day in ambulatory care:
- You will be given treatment times to attend each day.
- You will be assessed daily by a nurse; the assessment will include your temperature, pulse, blood pressure, weight and physical assessment.
- Please tell your nurse if you have any of the following symptoms; nausea (feeling sick), vomiting (being sick), diarrhoea and fatigue (tiredness).
- You may also have a daily blood test
- Other investigations may be carried out
- You will have your prescribed chemotherapy treatment and if needed additional intravenous fluids, blood or platelet transfusions.
- You will be seen by a nurse or doctor each day.
- If staying at home, a sandwich or soup will be offered to you at lunch time whilst you are on the unit. If staying in the hotel, you can use your meal vouchers to get hot food from the hospital canteen. You will also be offered tea/coffee, cold drinks during the day.
What happens when ACU is closed at night
ACU is open weekdays until 7pm on weekdays and 5pm at weekends, so you may be concerned about what happens if you need our attention at other times. We have made sure that this can happen and you will be given all the information that you need to contact us and receive the advice you need including arranging your admission to hospital if needed.
Being admitted to hospital
You may need to be admitted to hospital during your treatment. Your medical team will discuss this with you, if it becomes necessary. We admit ambulatory care patients so that we can monitor you more closely and so that you can receive treatments such as fluids or antibiotics that could not be given in Ambulatory Care.
Follow up care
Your Ambulatory Care nurse will inform you of any appointments/dates for blood tests after we discharge you.