Day Kimball Hospital’s Rose Bove LaRose Cancer Center has joined the likes of Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital in being among the first 100 cancer treatment centers in the nation to be recognized for meeting a new guideline for the safe delivery of a widely used chemotherapy drug.
The new guideline stipulates that Vincristine, an important chemotherapy drug used primarily for the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, be diluted and administered via an IV drip as opposed to straight injection with a syringe. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) launched its “Just Bag It” campaign in November, 2016, aimed at getting hospitals and cancer treatment centers to adopt the new guideline. NCCN set a goal for the campaign of 100 participating cancer treatment centers; Day Kimball Hospital became the 100th treatment center to be officially listed as a participant earlier this month.
“NCCN applauds Day Kimball Healthcare for their dedication to patient safety through the efforts made to adopt the principles of the NCCN Just Bag It campaign for safe vincristine administration,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “The small change set forth by the campaign indeed has a huge impact on patients’ lives, and we are proud that a community affiliate of one of our 27 NCCN Member Institutions allowed NCCN to meet its goal of 100 adopters of the Just Bag It campaign.”
The new guideline was put in place as a precautionary measure to prevent fatalities caused by accidental improper administration of Vincristine. While the drug is highly effective at blocking the growth of cancer, if mistakenly given by injection into the spinal fluid (as some other chemotherapy treatments are), it is fatal. By always administering the drug via IV-drip, the chance of accidental injection into the spinal fluid is eliminated and the chance of improper dosage is greatly reduced.
“We were thrilled to work together as a team both locally and nationally to institute this important safety initiative here at Day Kimball. Arthur Bourque from our pharmacy designed the conversion for us to change the way we administer the drug and Denise Spirito was our nurse who first administered the drug to one of our patients. It was a seamless process and gives us the confidence that we are abiding by the highest standards of care for our patients,” said Day Kimball Hospital Director of Oncology Carolina Starr-Manning.
Day Kimball Hospital had nearly 6,000 patient visits to its Cancer Center last year. Its cancer care program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Cancer. Its services include hematology/oncology care, risk prevention assessments and genetic testing, and surgical care for the treatment of cancer. The program also encompasses supportive services including a nurse navigator to coordinate all aspects of treatment; an oncology social worker and nutritionist; and support groups for patients and family.