A Chemotherapy Services Plan for the Grampians Region has recently been completed. The following findings are based on consultations with service providers and consumers, data analysis, and a planning workshop:
Consumers value access to treatment locally and the opportunity to reduce the burden of travel. They also value the quality of interaction with staff and the quality of care provided/
Chemotherapy centres are well-distributed across the major population centres in the region, although over time it may be necessary to increase capacity in the rapidly-growing eastern part of the region. It would be difficult to establish any new centres with sufficient critical mass, and it is likely that growth in demand could be accommodated in the existing centres in the foreseeable future. It is noted however, that additional staffing and other resources would be needed to expand service delivery in any of the existing centres.
The region can improve coordination and standardisation mechanisms to ensure that all chemotherapy centres are working to the same standards and models of care
Referral and care pathways between primary care, regional chemotherapy centres and metropolitan highly specialised chemotherapy centres can be improved and there may be opportunities for standardisation. Some enablers to this are a regional approach to portability of patient records, shared care arrangements, and the agreement of telehealth protocols
Consumers would be better supported if there were better relationships between service providers across the region; between public-sector and private-sector providers; and between regional and metropolitan centres.
Health literacy in the Grampians and Small Town Cancer Planning
In 2015 GICS worked with Deakin University, Ballarat Health Services and the Department of Health and Human Services to complete the Ophelia Grampians Project: Optimising Health Literacy and Access to Cancer Care in the Grampians.
The project looked at health literacy and factors contributing to a higher incidence of cancer and cancer mortality in the Grampians region. We identified opportunities for cancer care service improvement.
GICS will now develop strategies that local communities can use to improve access and use of cancer care services.
The project will test the strategies in Avoca and Beaufort, working directly with
community groups and clubs
The project lays the groundwork for framework development to guide small town service development nationally.
Co-develop Local Cancer Plans with stakeholders from Avoca and Beaufort
Mentor and support GICS and local health providers to identify resources and develop materials required to implement two Local Cancer Plans
Develop guidelines and templates to guide small town cancer service development across the region, and be an exemplar for Victoria and Australia
Contact for this project is Glenn Reeves, GICS Cancer Service Improvement Coordinator
Optimal care pathways for lung and colorectal cancers
Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs)aim to improve the cancer care experience for each patient by promoting and facilitating consistent and evidence-based care for each cancer type.
We know people affected by cancer, experience their cancer care across the whole health system, they need to receive services in an appropriate and coordinated manner.
This work includes analysis of current patterns of cancer care and consultation with our clinical leaders. We then identify variation in care and service improvements. Work has commenced on the colorectal cancer and lung cancer pathways.
My Cancer Care Record is a hand held folder to assist newly-diagnosed patients affected by cancer, to store and record their medical and health related information in one place. It helps people request information from their health care professionals and manage their care.
The record was initiated by the North Eastern Metropolitan Integrated Cancer Service Consumer Reference Group. They recognised the need for people affected by cancer to be:
more informed, actively involved and in control of their care
provided with more personally relevant information
better equipped to recall their health information and communicate with health care providers
Use of the folder promotes safety and improved continuity of a person's care.
One hundred copies of the first version of the folder were produced and piloted in Melbourne.
Following evaluation and improvements, the project has been extended to a larger pilot of 2000 folders for use over 12 months. GICS recently launched the folders in the Grampians region.
The folder is
an A4 sized folder
for any person affected by any type of cancer
sections to help people organise and keep their important information
prompt pages to guide people on the type of information that's important to keep and record,
tips, information and questions for people to ask their health professionals.
GICS Consumer Advisory Group is leading the pilot of the folder in our region. The larger pilot will
extend the availability of the folder,
confirm that people affected by cancer need and value the folder
improve health professional awareness and use of the folder.
The FREE folders are available from healthcare professionals providing cancer related services.
For further information on this project contact Glenn Reeves, Cancer Service Improvement Officer
In 2013, lung cancer was the fourth most common new cancer, diagnosed in Victoria and was the leading cause of cancer death in both males and females.
The prognosis for those diagnosed with lung cancer is poor with a five year relative survival rate of 14% for males and 18% for females. In the majority of cases by the time lung cancer is diagnosed it is too late for curative treatment.
The diagnostic process is complex. Lung cancer patients may see up to four specialists and have multiple tests before treatment starts.
The approach to triage and coordination of the diagnostic pathway varies. This variation in timeliness of lung cancer care is a problem in Victoria.
GICS, together with our health service partners are participating in a redesign program to improve timeliness of lung cancer care in our region.
Decrease delays from receipt of referral to first lung cancer specialist appointment
Decrease time from first specialist appointment to first staging test
Decrease time from receipt of referral to a diagnosis of lung cancer
All patients with a new diagnosis of lung cancer are discussed at a multidisciplinary team meeting
Contact for this project is Joanne Gell, Strategic Director
Improving Cancer Services in the Wimmera Southern Mallee
People in the Grampians region report feeling isolated during their cancer experience and want local support and partnership between cancer care providers. (2010 GICS report 'You don't get called a patient for nothing')
The 2015 GICS 'Cancer Conversations' project identified support and assistance, and information and communication as two more important themes.
GICS responded by activating the Wimmera Cancer Care Coordination Implementation Plan in 2013.
Improve supportive care
Improve clinical services to people with cancer
Develop a Wimmera Cancer Care Community of Practice
Cancer Resource Nurses (CRNs) have been appointed to improve supportive cancer care at
Dunmunkle Health Services
Edenhope Memorial Health Service
Rural Northwest Health and
West Wimmera Health Services
CRNs are local non-cancer nurses trained in supportive cancer care. Their point of difference is their ability to offer care and referral to appropriate services as close to home as possible.
Comments from people affected by cancer about CRNs
'I no longer feel alone with this'
'Invaluable service and sorely needed'
'Saved me travelling'
The Wimmera Cancer Nurse Practitioner provides support and expert advice for the CRNs as they continue to adapt their existing knowledge and skills to include cancer care.
The Wimmera Cancer Care Community of Practice supports the re-design work and is contributed to by many skilled clinicians.
GICS is working in collaboration the Wimmera Southern Mallee Health Alliance
Contact for this project is Lea Marshall, GICS Cancer Service Improvement Coordinator
Telehealth for Supportive Survivorship Care Project
Since discussions began in early 2016, GICS in partnership with Cancer Council Victoria (CCV) and HumeRICS are pleased to announce the Telehealth for Supportive Survivorship Care Project has now commenced.
The project aim is 'to develop, pilot and assess a telehealth model for the sustainable delivery of CCV's 'Wellness and Life After Cancer (WALAC) program across rural and regional sites in two Victorian Integrated Cancer Services'.
The project will provide access to a comprehensive survivorship assessment, education, exercise and wellness program for rural and regional cancer survivors and carers. Synchronous (real time) telehealth video conferencing will be used to enable the participants to remain as close to home as practicable while accessing the program. It will further innovate the program with tailored assessment, practical exercise and wellness sessions for survivors and carers as part of a pilot.
Centred in the Wimmera Southern Mallee region the main local project partners are Wimmera Southern Mallee Health Alliance member service, Stawell Regional Health and Wimmera Primary Care Partnership. Nursing and allied health professionals are key participants in the project.