Members of the Niagara Health System Oncology Program team met recently with physicians, nurses and community and regional partners to discuss ways to enhance the patient experience. This gathering was part of the planning for existing cancer services as well as the new Walker Family Cancer Centre, which opens in spring 2013.
Patients and their families shared their experiences via video, and some clear themes were developed by the group. Among them was the need for more communication between patients and providers as well as the importance of a warm and friendly environment.
Some of the Oncology Program’s successes were also highlighted. One initiative, the Lung Diagnosis Assessment Program (LDAP), has reduced the wait time for lung cancer diagnosis and treatment from 95 days to 27 days. Patients are in steady contact with a nurse navigator, RN Colleen Stang, who helps them throughout their journey with the healthcare system. LDAP patients are reporting an overall improvement in their experience since the program was launched in 2010 by the NHS, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Juravinski Cancer Centre and Cancer Care Ontario.
The recent gathering was also an opportunity to learn more about the Walker Family Cancer Centre as preparations continue for its opening. Radiation treatment will be available in Niagara for the first time. The Walker Family Cancer Centre will also provide chemotherapy and other systemic therapies, surgical oncology consultation, psychosocial support, palliative care and other support services.
“We’re really grateful to all of our patients, colleagues and partners for their contributions in the planning for the Walker Family Cancer Centre,” says Dr. Janice Giesbrecht, Medical Oncology Director for the program. “It’s a very exciting time as we get closer to the opening of a state-of-the-art centre for the treatment and care of cancer patients in Niagara.”