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Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Announce the Opening of a New Outpatient Infusion Unit

Published (April 01, 2013) - The Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (PHO) program, led by division chief Stanley Calderwood, M.D., is pleased to announce the opening of a new outpatient infusion unit.

Pediatric Outpatient Infusion Room

Saint Peter's Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (PHO) program is led by division chief Stanley Calderwood, M.D.(pictured center).

“This expansion is the result of a growing program that has created the need for more space to perform infusions,” says Shira Sheldon, PHO clinic nurse. “The newly expanded unit will make it possible for more patients to receive lifesaving treatments, including chemotherapy, antibiotics, transfusions and other supportive care measures on an outpatient basis.”

“The opening of this unit continues a trend towards outpatient therapy, which we know to be safe, effective and convenient for families,” says Karen Kestenbaum, PNP, PHO nurse practitioner. “Although outpatient therapy is not appropriate for all patients, the opening of this unit allows for more kids who are candidates for outpatient therapy to be treated and go home at the end of the day.”

According to Irina Mariano-Brown, LCSW clinical social worker, there is no question that children who can sleep at home in their own beds after treatment are happier and adjust better to their illness, than those who have to remain in hospital for extended periods. “The less social isolation and disruption that kids in crisis experience, the better it is for them,” she says.

The infusion unit is located next to the inpatient pediatric units at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. This proximity helps to improve communication and build a collaborative relationship with the pediatrics staff and to ensure a safe environment for patients.

The child-friendly infusion area is decorated with the same colors as Saint Peter’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology outpatient clinic located in the hospital’s Medical Office Building, giving young patients a sense of familiarity reinforced by care provided by the same doctors and nurses they see when they come for clinic visits. The new infusion chairs are comfortable; they recline and have attached mobile side-tables. There are also video games, books and toys to make the child’s stay as pleasant as possible.

The expansion of infusion services was supported in part by funds raised by the Saint Peter’s Foundation’s annual community golf outing.