After being suspended on Dec. 8, some chemotherapy services are back at Stanton Territorial Hospital.
Ten patients are being permitted to resume treatment at Stanton Hospital because the toxicity level of their medication is easier for newly-trained nurses to manage, said Dr. Shireen Mansouri the central area medical director at Stanton.
A total of 29 patients were sent to Edmonton for treatment during the suspension.
Some patients have struggled with this change but most of feedback during the suspension has been positive, said Les Harrison, chief operating officer at Stanton Hospital. He said staff is looking forward to treating patients again.
“We’re really proud of our staff and we know they are really excited about this. The nurses and physicians involved, their effort to meet all the best practice standards was exciting for them,” said Harrison. “They have done a lot of work as a team to improve their skills. It was really easy for us to motivate them and support their efforts … We are all satisfied with the steps the hospital as a whole has taken.”
Chemotherapy services at Stanton were suspended after a safety audit conducted by Cancer Control Alberta (CCA) deemed areas within the service needed improvement.
While conducting a visual audit, the organization looked at Stanton’s pharmacy, nursing qualifications, physician support, charting systems and how the hospital handled patient information documents between Stanton and the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.
The audit conducted by CCA is an example of the positive relationship between the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority and Alberta Health Services, said Mansouri.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “We have an obligation to maintain that partnership and maintain that ongoing connection so as the field evolves in Canada we will evolve with it.”
The results of the audit made the hospital take a closer look at their patient care and education, said Mansouri.
“We certainly hope that at any point patients feel comfortable to ask questions about their illness and the treatment that they are getting,” said Mansouri. “The training upgrades for nurses will allow them to feel more confident about providing patients with answers to their questions.”
A total of 35 to 40 patients were affected by December’s closure, said Harrison.
Two nurses received specialized training at the Canadian Cross Cancer institute in Edmonton during the suspension. They were taught Alberta’s standards for patient education, patient care, safety procedures when administering medication and workplace safety procedures.
Training methods for nurses have been updated, added Harrison.
Initially it was thought the service would be reopened in February but that was delayed until tomorrow when the hospital will allow patients to access the chemotherapy suite.
Harrison said the suite has been renovated and will include more space for patient privacy.