Managing low‐risk febrile neutropenia in children in the time of COVID‐19: What matters to parents and clinicians

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2021, 57, (6), pp. 826-834
Issue Date:
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The Australian 'There is no place like home' project is implementing a paediatric low-risk febrile neutropenia (FN) programme across eight paediatric hospitals. We sought to identify the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on programme implementation.


Paediatric oncology, infectious diseases and emergency medicine health-care workers and parent/carers were surveyed to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on home-based FN care. Online surveys were distributed nationally to health-care workers involved in care of children with FN and to parents or carers of children with cancer.


Surveys were completed by 78 health-care workers and 32 parents/carers. Overall, 95% of health-care workers had confidence in the safety of home-based FN care, with 35% reporting changes at their own hospitals in response to the pandemic that made them more comfortable with this model. Compared to pre-pandemic, >50% of parent/carers were now more worried about attending the hospital with their child and >80% were interested in receiving home-based FN care. Among both groups, increased telehealth access and acceptance of home-based care, improved patient quality of life and reduced risk of nosocomial infection were identified as programme enablers, while re-direction of resources due to COVID-19 and challenges in implementing change during a crisis were potential barriers.


There is strong clinician and parent/carer support for home-based management of low-risk FN across Australia. Changes made to the delivery of cancer care in response to the pandemic have generally increased acceptance for home-based treatments and opportunities exist to leverage these to refine the low-risk FN programme.
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