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Hollywood Private Hospital helps patients navigate cancer care

Oct 27, 2020

Hollywood Private Hospital has launched a new Cancer Care Navigation service, with patients praising the team for their compassion and support during their treatment.

The program provides newly diagnosed cancer patients the opportunity of meeting with a senior registered nurse who can guide them through various aspects of their cancer treatment - from initial diagnosis right through to post treatment and into survivorship.

Director of Clinical Services at Hollywood Private Hospital, Karen Gullick, said the program would make a huge difference to patient care and outcomes.

“We are delighted to be part of this important program because the Cancer Care Navigator can be a consistent person the patient will see and get to know on their cancer journey,” Ms Gullick said.

“Having a knowledgeable, familiar face to guide them through the different phases of treatment and care is really beneficial and we have already received positive feedback from those patients who’ve had contact with our navigator, Therese.”

“It’s just so important to be able to meet with, or pick up the telephone and talk to someone you know and trust.”

Ramsay Service Line Director for Cancer Care, Sue Sinclair, said the program offered patients the best experience in cancer care.  

“When a patient is first diagnosed with cancer, undergoes urgent surgery or is starting systemic anti-cancer treatment, they have dozens of questions about the path ahead. But we know many of them don’t think their questions are important enough to ask their specialists,” Ms Sinclair said.

“They might see the surgeons or nurses in the ward and not want to bother them with questions such as ‘when will I be able to see my grandkids?’, or ‘should I be exercising while having chemotherapy?’, but these are the questions that weigh on their minds. 

“The navigators can answer those questions. A navigator is a specialist nurse who has extensive experience in cancer care and are able to guide patients through the complex and daunting path ahead.” 

The Cancer Care Navigator works closely with the team treating each person, and can provide a holistic approach to care by guiding patients towards services that may help; including dietitians, exercise physiologists, counselling services, GPs and Cancer Council support and information.

Hollywood Cancer Care Navigator Therese Thompson, who has been nursing for more than 30 years, said her new role helped create the best outcome for patients. 

“The major benefits for patients is that we are there for them as a point of contact over multiple admissions, and as a navigator I am looking at all facets of the patient’s life, not just the treatment modality,” Ms Thompson said.

“We focus on what is important to the patients, their goals and the supports they have in place so that we can assist them where they need it and they can focus on their treatment.”

Ms Thompson said she had received lovely feedback from patients.

“One said ‘It was great to have someone who had the time to just sit and talk to me’, and other patients have seen it as an opportunity to discuss Covid-19 restrictions and this has helped to allay their anxieties too,” Ms Thompson said.

“When I reflect on a busy day, I love the feeling that I have given the patient all the information they required and linked them to the services they need, so that they and their family are supported - and that is very satisfying.”