Individualised Support Services
The cancer experience is about much more than just receiving treatment. It is about supporting patients through the process and enabling them to return to normal life after treatment.
A key part in this is enabling access to allied health services including:
Cancer Care Navigator
Our cancer care navigator focussed on the patient and family following a diagnosis of cancer and aims to support a positive experience along the cancer care pathway. From the time of diagnosis, throughout treatment and into survivorship, our cancer care navigator is a central person to help support the varying needs of patients and carers.
Information can be explained about patient’s specific cancer and treatments, and support provided to help manage side effects. By continually assessing specific needs, care can be coordinated to ensure all members of the treatment team and other community services can be accessed as the need arises.
- An active link between you and your treating teams (doctors, nurses, allied health and GP).
- Help to address any identified concerns and assist with setting any goals you may wish to achieve at each step in your treatment pathway.
- Referral to multidisciplinary support services to meet patient needs.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 9788 4338
Our prostate care nurse is an experienced nurse who has specialised in the care of men with prostate cancer, as well as the support of their carers. From the time of diagnosis, throughout treatment and afterwards, our prostate care nurse provides information, support and coordination of care specific to each individual’s needs.
This also includes:
- Acting as a point of contact and support for men and their families/carers
- Providing reliable information and education about diagnosis and treatment plans
- Coordination of care throughout the cancer journey
- Improving access to specialists and services
- Assisting with access to hospital and community-based services during and after treatment
- Providing information on dealing with the effects of treatment and how to get further help to deal with specific problems being experienced
- Providing information about support groups
The Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse can be contacted via switch on.
Social workers are an integral part of the treating team to assist patients and their families with their psychological, emotional and practical needs. Our social workers can assist and support you and your family/carers during the period of change associated with a cancer diagnosis.
We provide a wide variety of social work services which include:
- Individual and family counselling, support with adjustment to illness, grief, anxiety, depression and concerns that affect the patient’s physical and emotional health
- Assistance and support for patients and their families/carers during their cancer experience as individual issues arise
- Referral and linkage to community services which may help to maintain independence in the community
- Planning for future care including accommodation, as well as financial and legal matters when required
Adequate nutrition is an essential part of every patients care, recovery and wellbeing. Cancer treatment side effects can impact people’s nutritional status in many ways such as:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in energy levels
- Weight loss/weight gain
- Sore mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Taste changes
Our dietetics team of tertiary qualified dietitians provide comprehensive nutrition assessments, care planning, interventions and education. Treatment plans are individually developed and tailored to meet the requirements of each patient.
For more detailed information on nutrition and cancer click here.
Our physiotherapists provide support through different phases of treatment. During treatment, focus is on early recovery and maintenance and return to normal functioning. After treatment, support is provided to people in the recovery process, focusing on self-management and community linkages. Maintaining independence and improving physical functioning is important for maximising recovery. In some cases where recovery is delayed or not possible, physiotherapy can help target specific problem areas, assist with symptom management or offer strategies to manage long term changes.
Physiotherapy services for cancer patients may include:
- Education and advice, including strategies to increase physical activity, balance and strength
- Providing exercises and walking aids, balance and mobility training and stretching programs
- Early mobilisation and prevention of complications after surgery
- Management of functional decline and risk reduction
- Lymphoedema screening and education
- Advice on self-management of cancer-related conditions and treatment related side effects
- End-of-life support and palliation (such as discharge planning, family education and training, symptom management)
- Liaison and consultation with external supports for ongoing care and rehabilitation
- Group exercise activities
Treatment for cancer can affect energy levels and often interfere with people’s ability to maintain their usual exercise routines. Based at Beleura Private Hospital, our exercise physiologists provide patients with the opportunity to maintain their fitness, muscle and bone strength in a relaxed supportive environment. This has many benefits on physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Exercise physiologists provide:
- Exercise programming for reconditioning following treatment
- Individually prescribed strengthening and fitness programs
- Group exercise activities
Find out about out Oncology Group Exercise Program - Cancer care plus.
Our occupational therapists work with the patient, family/carers and community to maximise independence, safety and overall sense of wellbeing. The ability to perform tasks such as showering, dressing, cooking and cleaning and to engage in important life roles can be significantly affected by cancer and its treatment.
Depending on your needs, the occupational therapist may provide advice relating to:
- Improving safety and independence with performing daily activities at home and in the community
- Setting up the home to better support the patient in managing their cancer and its side-effects
- Strategies to help with coping with effects such as fatigue and difficulties with memory and concentration
Certain types of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery can cause side effects such as difficulties in communicating, swallowing and chewing which may require the help of a speech pathologist. Our speech pathologist can provide advice, education and specific exercises, including teaching techniques to make it easier and safer to swallow, or changing the texture or thickness of what you eat and drink.
It is not uncommon for someone with cancer to have elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. Certain treatments and the use of corticosteroids can have an impact on blood sugar levels. Our diabetic educator can assist in providing education and support to help regulate blood sugar levels if required.
Stomal therapists are registered nurses who have undertaken further education enabling them to provide specialised care for people undergoing surgery that involves the formation of a stoma.
Our stomal therapist can provide:
- Pre-operative education, counselling and siting of all patients undergoing surgery that may potentially involve the formation of a stoma
- Post-operative education to help people independently care for their stoma
- Ongoing outpatient support for people living with a stoma including intervention, travel advice, revision/management of stoma supplies
- Liaison with external/community health care providers to ensure ongoing support if required
- Assistance and support for patients that have long term drain tubes or fistulae
Lymphoedema is swelling caused by a build-up of lymph fluid in the tissues, which occurs if the lymph nodes are damaged or removed. Our accredited lymphoedema practitioner offers a comprehensive assessment and intervention program designed to help reduce the symptoms of lymphoedema and provides ongoing education for management.
The following services can be provided:
- Lymphoedema and skin assessment
- Education on prevention strategies
- Lymphatic massage to manually drain the lymphatic system
- Exercises to assist with the flow of lymph in the body
- Self-management strategies
- Fitting of a compression garment
- Occupational therapy to assist with daily activities, relaxation and energy conservation and advice to enhance coping skills
Cancer affects people in many ways. Common emotional and psychological concerns include anxiety, fear of cancer recurrence or progression, pain, sleep difficulties, depression, worry about fertility, disfigurement, sexual functioning and the impact that the cancer may have on family members/carers. Clinical psychologists use a range of techniques and therapies to help people with cancer and their families adjust to emotional and psychological challenges.
Speak to our clinical psychologist to find out how they can help, or click here to explore other options of support.