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February 4, 2016
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, it is understandable and expected that they will have questions around what their diagnosis means, and what they should expect in the days, weeks and months to follow. But the questions don’t stop once their appointment is over, and often intensify as treatment begins.
Maureen Quinn, a nurse practitioner on the C7 adult oncology unit at Victoria Hospital, along with her colleagues, recognized that for inpatients of the unit, accessing information related to their condition was difficult as many were too unwell to travel to the London Regional Cancer Program library. A Continuous Quality Improvement initiative was undertaken to address this challenge, and on February 1, the C7 Patient and Family Resource Centre was officially unveiled.
“Information is power for our patients,” said Quinn. “It is important that they understand their illness and how to keep themselves safe and healthy after diagnosis. Our hope is that by making this information more accessible to them, they will be better prepared for the road ahead.”
Patient and Family Advisor Helen Nash assisted with choosing the resource materials and will help monitor and re-stock them. “We had a team that narrowed down resource materials available in the London Regional Cancer Program and then asked the staff on the unit to initial the ones which they felt were the best and most relevant,” she explains.
Her own experience of visiting a family member on the unit encouraged her participation as a Patient and Family Advisor on the project. “Families and visitors often have questions themselves and also require support. There can be times when visitors are waiting in the hallway while their loved one is being treated and now they have access to information and a waiting area where they can congregate and meet others,” she adds. “We are providing educational support for the physical and the emotional aspects of the illness.”