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Celebrating the First Year of Huntsman at Home

Huntsman at Home Team standing on spiral stairs in 2019

A year ago this month, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) opened an innovative new service: Huntsman at HomeTM. Huntsman at Home seeks to deliver HCI-quality care to patients in their own homes. The goal is to help patients leave the hospital earlier or avoid inpatient and emergency department visits altogether.

Many side effects from chemotherapy, including nausea and dehydration, can now be managed without a trip to a clinic. And for patients at the end of their cancer journey, Huntsman at Home provides care connected to their HCI medical oncologist and care team. Key partners like our colleagues at University of Utah Health and support from Community Nursing Services positioned the service for success.

And in only a year, the impact of Huntsman at Home has exceeded all expectations.

To date, Huntsman at Home has cared for 345 patients. Patients are multicultural—the group cared for speaks 14 languages. More than 120 HCI clinicians have referred their patients to this service.

Working with Community Nursing Services, HCI established a team of providers to care for cancer patients and their families. When patients are referred, Huntsman at Home typically sees them the same day (or within 24 hours for non-urgent referrals). In response to patient needs, Huntsman at Home leaders created a ‘rapid response team’ that can respond to acute patient care needs within two hours. Care can be customized to meet the unique needs of patients and their families. Patients can receive multiple visits daily from nurse practitioners, nurses, and health aides. A new telehealth offering that is well-received by patients allows a registered nurse to visit the patient in their home and facilitate a medical appointment with a nurse practitioner located at HCI.

Creating a new model of cancer care and delivering a service that is in high demand by HCI patients was not easy. Huntsman at Home has delivered services that would not have been possible in any other care setting. For the Huntsman at Home team, it’s personal.

Huntsman at Home providers deliver compassionate, supportive, and effective care to patients and their families. Bringing HCI to the patient, they identify the unique context of each patient’s cancer experiences and support family members to lessen the burdens of caregiving.

This team isn’t slowing down. They are working to establish services in the University of Utah Health emergency department where they can visit HCI patients to assess whether they can be safely treated at home rather than within an inpatient hospital setting. And they are working to establish pilot sites in rural locations to help care for patients who live far from Salt Lake City.

The Huntsman at Home team has established a service focused on patient outcomes and quality of life by bringing HCI-quality cancer care closer to home. And people are taking notice: Huntsman at Home has garnered national interest from across the United States. It is viewed as a model for patient- and family-centered care. We are grateful to this team for their extraordinary commitment to our cancer patients and their families.

Cancer touches all of us.