A $4.5 million gift from the Huntsman family’s Huntsman Foundation is funding an expansion of a unique program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah that brings specialty cancer care directly to patients in their homes. With the gift, HCI’s “Huntsman at Home” program will expand to rural Utah, including Carbon, Emery and Grand counties.
The goal of the program is to provide cancer care for patients who live far from HCI in Salt Lake City by partnering with patients and their caregivers, communities and medical teams to deliver many aspects of cancer care in a patient’s own home as an alternative to hospital visits at a medical center or emergency department, HCI said.
The rural expansion announcement follows the first evaluation of Huntsman at Home, reported last month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Selected as a major presentation at the international meeting where the latest findings in cancer care are shared, HCI scientists detailed an analysis that showed Huntsman at Home patients had improved outcomes and reduced medical costs compared to a control group of cancer patients who did not participate in Huntsman at Home.
Huntsman at Home launched in 2018 and is currently exclusive to patients living within a 20-mile radius of HCI’s flagship hospital on the campus of the UofU. This gift announcement allows Huntsman at Home to dramatically expand its reach, HCI said. Huntsman at Home services range from symptom management to acute medical, post-surgical and end-of-life care. The Huntsman at Home team includes HCI nurse practitioners and oncologists. It is operated in partnership with Community Nursing Services (CNS), a home health and hospice agency. Working with CNS staff, the team provides registered nurses, nursing aids, social workers and physical therapists. All aspects of care are done in consultation with the patient’s medical oncologist at HCI.
“Cancer patients and their family caregivers are often thrust into a challenging environment of managing complicated treatments, symptoms and more,” said Dr. John Ward, HCI physician-in-chief and professor of internal medicine at the UofU. “We are grateful for the opportunity to determine how we can better serve our rural communities by bringing the Huntsman touch to patients in their own homes.”
“Our family foundation has decided to add this support in addition to our previous commitments. This is a program designed to combine home care with the latest care and research from Huntsman Cancer Institute,” said Peter R. Huntsman, CEO of Huntsman Foundation and chairman and CEO of Huntsman Cancer Foundation. “In treating certain cases of cancer, this should allow care to be more personalized to the needs of the patient.”