Objectives: To determine patient preferences and cost differences between home-based and hospital-based chemotherapy.
Design: Randomised crossover trial.
Setting: A tertiary cancer hospital in Melbourne, Victoria.
Participants: 20 patients who required chemotherapy suitable for administration at home.
Interventions: Patients were assigned at random to receive their first chemotherapy treatment in either the home or the hospital and the second treatment in the alternative setting.
Main outcome measures: Patient preference, costs.
Results: There was universal agreement by the 20 patients in the randomised trial that home-based chemotherapy was the preferred option (P < 0.0001). No problems were nominated by the patients as being associated with home-based chemotherapy. Home-based treatment was estimated to result in an increased cost of $83 (P = 0.0002) for each chemotherapy treatment compared with hospital-based treatment. Reported advantages for chemotherapy in the home included the elimination of travel, reduction in treatment-associated anxiety, reduction in the burden on carers and family, and the ability to continue other duties. There were no significant complications associated with administration of chemotherapy in the home.
Conclusions: Patients prefer home-based chemotherapy to hospital-based treatment. The future of chemotherapy-in-the-home programs in Australia will depend on whether patient preferences are deemed to offset any potential increase in costs.