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"Patient care"

About: John Fawkner Private Hospital Kerang District Health St John of God Bendigo Hospital

(as other),

Late in 2018 my partner was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had a Wipple's operation at the John Faulkner Hospital Melbourne. The care he received there by staff was outstanding. We found all the staff (medical  & domestic) very friendly, compassionate & supportive.

Since his operation he has started chemo. 12 rounds, every 2 weeks. 5 hours of chemo, then home with a chemo pump for 48 hours 

He has his chemo at St John of God Hospital Bendigo. Where we meet with the most amazing ladies in oncology. Claire, Jackie & Kahlia are so caring, understanding, compassionate, supportive, they always welcome us with a smile & ask if there is anything we need or they can do for us. They make all there clients feel important & that they are not alone while going through this journey. Thankfully no question is a dumb question, and they answer all our questions in a way we can understand it. They also explain every part of the treatment, which is very important to us.

To help cut down on travel, Claire arranged for my partner to have the pump taken of at the Kerang District Health oncology department. We were met by Cindy who along with other staff members Karen & Candice have been very accommodating, taking the pump off, and on the second week redoing his dressing over the PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter)  line. Once again we have been shown how compassionate, understanding & caring the oncology nurses are. You are just not a number to them, you are a real person going through a very tough period of your life. 

As a partner of someone going through cancer treatment, I am so thankful for all the staff we have had the pleasure of meeting along the way. Not only do they care about how my partner is going, they show the same care to me.

Responses

Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of Chloe Keogh

Dear Quamby,

Thank you for your story, and what a journey you have both been on. It is so good to hear that you have consistently met healthcare professionals who supported you with compassion, understanding and caring throughout the different organisations that you attended, and also I am additionally heartened to hear that you have been able to access care closer to home as your journey progressed, saving you a lot of travel.

We have been doing a small project on Cancer Survivorship groups in our area, as they are ideally Volunteer Led Support groups (as recommended by Cancer Council of Australia), that are inclusive for people of all ages and stages, and with a focus on healthy living (exercise, diet, supports etc) for people who have been on or are still on a cancer journey. These type groups seem well run and popular in larger regional towns, but not so common in smaller rural towns, despite the evidence that finds they are a strong supportive network for those attending.


We are continuing to work with Murray PHN on this, and I would love to find some innovative ways of supporting people in our region to have access to this style of Cancer Survivorship group for the future. I will filter any information either through the local newspaper or through the oncology nurses to keep everyone informed as to what is happening in this space. Any thoughts that you have about this, either yourselves or from others who you know on a similar journey would be most appreciated.

Kind Regards

Chloe

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Update posted by Quamby (other)

Hi Chloe,

I think it would be wonderful to have a cancer support group in our area. I know that the hospitals have all the relevant information to give to people.

But it's not the same as talking with people/family that are or have been on this journey. And sometimes you just need to know you're not the only person/family going through this, and it's not all doom & gloom.

I would be very interested in being part of this.

Cheers

Quamby

Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health

picture of Chloe Keogh

Dear Quamby,

I know that the Murray Primary Health network and the Kerang oncology nurses had a meeting yesterday about how to progress this idea of a cancer support group - it is meant to be volunteer-led, so that is a little tricky. I will make sure Cindy and the oncology team keep you informed as to the progress of this.

In the meantime, I wonder if you have thought about accessing the Strength Based Program at Kerang, on the side of the WDThomas Activity Centre, exercise can be a great way to feel better, and have your own personalised program - for you and your partner when he feels up to it - just a thought!

Kind Regards

Chloe

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Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health We are preparing to make a change

picture of Chloe Keogh

Dear Quamby,

We are starting a media campaign this week about people interested in forming a cancer support group- I have attached the information for you if you are interested to follow up:

Are you a cancer survivor or do you support someone with cancer and live in the Gannawarra or Buloke region? Murray PHN is establishing a cancer support group to provide a safe space for people affected by cancer. The group will enable people to develop local connections, providing emotional and other supports including the sharing of resources, experiences and ideas. We understand that everyone has different needs and hope to hear from you about yours. Are you interested in:

One-on-one Group support in the form of guest speaker events, exercise activity, etc. Online access to connect with people in the same situation. To register your interest, contact Gemma Bilardi at Murray PHN by calling 03 4408 5610 or emailing gbilardi@murrayphn.org.au

Contact details

For more details, Gemma Bilardi, Cancer Survivorship Project Coordinator, e: gbilardi@murrayphn.org.au or t: 03 4408 5610.

We will be looking to support the formation of a cancer group in whatever form it may take, but the form it takes will depend on what people are looking for.

Kind Regards

Chloe

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