In 2015 we held "Cancer Conversations" and invited cancer patients, carers, families, communities
and health professionals in the Grampians region to contribute ideas for
improving the experience of cancer services.
Over 50 ideas were raised and three clear areas of need were identified
- Support and assistance - the way people affected by cancer can access help from others to support them
- Communication and information sharing - the way information is provided to people affected by cancer (patients, carers, family members and loved ones)
- Facilities, including transport, parking and accommodation
Top 5 conversations
- 'Financial assistance and planning needs to be part of all hospital follow up not just those in the public sector'
- As a cancer patient for four and a half years suffering from melanoma, my family and I have found there is a vital need for the following service: Cancer Coordinator'
- 'When my mother had cancer, my family was assigned a social worker. The social worker handled many things for us. Can we put more resources here?'
- 'Varying appointment times for patients is an often heard complaint made to volunteers. Four suggestions to relieve the situation: 1. Inform patients as soon as possible of the delay. 2. Enhance the ambience of the waiting rooms. 3. Provide a quiet room where patients can lie down. 4. Encourage greater use of the Wellness Centre.'
- 'The best experiences with doctors and specialists have been with those who are prepared to listen to patients and carers. We are usually the ones who know more than anyone else what our own needs are.'
From Cancer Conversations two projects commenced in 2016:
- My Cancer Care Record A hand held diary to assist people affected by cancer to store and record their medical and health related matters in one place. It helps people request information from their health care professionals and manage their care.
- Service Improvements Grants Health service grants program open to our Grampians region partners (they are our Memorandum of Agreement signatories) to assist them to improve services for people affected by cancer.
"Being involved in cancer conversations has helped me heal -
to regain my confidence again. It's helped me find closure". Cancer patient
"We've mostly received very good care and support from our doctors and
specialists. The best experiences we've had have been with those who are
prepared to listen to patients and carers. We are usually the ones who know
more than anyone else what our own needs are." Cancer patient