How We Help
Care Coordinator across cancer types at NBH
Everyone has heard about 'McGrath Breast Care Nurses', who are funded directly by the McGrath Foundation to engage coordinators of care for those with breast cancer throughout Australia. Northern Beaches Hospital has a full-time McGrath Breast Nurse.
Our aim is to fund a Care Coordinator across the other cancer types - for example, lung, gastrointestinal cancers (e.g. colon, pancreases and oesophagus), genitourinary cancers (e.g. prostate, bladder and kidney) and so forth.
A Cancer Care Coordinator is an integral part of multi-disciplinary care that ensure the best outcomes for people diagnosed with cancer. They provide an essential service and support to people living with cancer in helping to navigate the many aspects of the care such as coordinating appointments with medical, surgical and allied health professionals, often across multiple sites, as well as acting as a contact point for patients and checking-up on their general well-being.
Specialist Oncology Clinical Trials Pharmacist at NBH
Modern cancer treatment involves the use of an expanding number of new agents and combinations of agents that have led to improvements in the outcomes for people living with cancer. Clinical trials are key to the development of better treatments for patients, but require expert pharmacy supervision from an experienced oncology pharmacist. This makes the role of a specialist oncology pharmacist vital as an integral part of the cancer care team. Oncology pharmacists are actively engaged in all aspects of cancer care including chemotherapy dose and preparation, safety checks and patient education.
Our aim is to fund a specialist senior Oncology Clinical Trials Pharmacist to support people living with cancer in the Northern Beaches, as well as to support the extension of clinical trials to Northern Beaches Hospital.
Priority medical equipment
From 'cold cap' machines to refrigerators to blood centrifuges, an Oncology Unit has a need for a variety of equipment.
As one example, a cold cap machine cools the scalp causing a reduced blood flow to that area so that less chemotherapy reaches the hair cells. This, in turn, reduces chemotherapy-induced hair loss. New machines mean that a patient can sit comfortably in their chair with a fitted cap for the duration of treatment.
We have successfully raised funds for the purchase of two medical refrigerators and a centrifuge, both pre-requisites to undertaking clinical trials.
Support people living with cancer in the Northern Beaches
Receiving cancer treatment is a time of anxiety for the patient, as well as their family and friends, and it can have a profound impact on stress levels and overall well-being.
We have started an informal group of community support for people living with cancer who just want someone else to talk to about what they're going through.
We also aim to look at the patient and family experience and introduce other support as they are required. This might include out-of-pocket expenses; funding family meals for mums or dads with cancer; funding accommodation if a loved one needs to stay nearby overnight ... and more.
Clinical trials support
The Oncologists working at Northern Beaches Hospital are involved in cutting-edge clinical trials which are being conducted across Australia and, in some cases, internationally.
However, patients treated at the Northern Beaches Hospital cannot take part in clinical trials locally because there is no capacity to do so without certain positions such as a Clinical Trials Research Coordinator being in place. As a result, patients are referred to other centres for participation in clinical trials, generally involving further travel and disruption.
We have successfully funded for 12 months the role of a Clinical Trial Coordinator (Registered Nurse Level 3 position) so the people of the Northern Beaches can be part of these cutting-edge clinical trials. At the end of December 2022, the Oncology and Infusion Unit were involved in two clinical trials.
Establish and maintain a Wig Library at NBH
A Wig Library is a vital part of an Oncology and Infusion Unit to support people receiving cancer treatment who suffer from hair loss. Northern Beaches Hospital does not currently have a Wig Library, though space has been set aside to accommodate one.
Our aim is to establish and maintain a Wig Library with a variety of different wigs, hair colours and hair styles as well as give each person requiring a wig the right shampoo, conditioner and accessories to care for their wig.
In April 2021, held a #WigWarriors campaign and invited everyone who attended the hairdresser or barber in that month to make a donation to NBCCC to support the Wig Library.
With the successful establishment of the Wig Library, our ongoing role is to ensure it is adequately maintained with wigs and supplies.