L-R Back: Ann Kinsella, Robyn Bean, Terri Jansen, Kim Urquhart, Chris James L-R Front: Margaret Wilford, Dee Carrington, Sonia Smiles Not Present: Brett Thomson, Janet Holland, Chris Still & Brendan SheedyDee Bows Out of Cancer Outpatients Appeal

4 June, 2014

After more than 10 years of dedication, determination & extraordinary achievement, Dee Carrington is leaving the Cancer Outpatients Appeal.
Although deeply saddened by the decision, the Committee fully appreciates & supports her decision.

“While it is probably never a good time, the Appeal is in a financially sound position with several new recruits and an experienced team to take it forward into the future.” Dee said, “ I have no reservations that they will achieve their next major objective, which is to establish a palliative care unit within the Milton Ulladulla Hospital.”

Dee continued “The Appeal has always prided itself on the fact that all monies raised go back into the local community to provide for the needs of the Cancer Centre & importantly for the needs of the patients, families & carers in the Southern Shoalhaven. It has been a pleasure for me personally to work with the committee on such an important project for the Community.”

The committee, members & volunteers are determined to drive the vision, continue to provide the high level of services presently offered & to raise additional funding necessary to make the palliative care unit a reality.

The Cancer Outpatients Appeal was formed in 2003 by a group of local volunteers to address the physical, emotional and financial burden on local cancer patients, their families and carers who had to travel to distant centres to access essential cancer treatment and services. The Appeal raised the funds to build, equip and furnish the Milton Ulladulla Community Cancer Services Centre adjacent to Milton Ulladulla Hospital.
Since the Cancer Centre opened in 2008, the Appeal has continued to support its staff and volunteers, fund equipment needs and provide a range of support services to patients and family members including a cancer information library, wig library, exercise programs, yoga, transport service, mowing service and patient nutritional support.

Free Transport for Cancer Patients Receiving Treatment at the Milton Cancer Services Centre.

Cancer patients and family members or carers with appointments at the Milton Ulladulla Community Cancer Services Centre are eligible to take advantage of a new, free, door to door transport service.

The Cancer Outpatients Appeal has partnered with Community Transport Aid  to provide this new service through local CTA Volunteers on the Thursday and Friday chemotherapy treatment days at the Centre.

Dee Carrington, President of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal said, “ We are very pleased to be able to work with CTA to provide this door to door service. Some patients and carers have commented that it is often difficult to park at the Centre as spaces within the hospital complex are at a premium. In some cases, patients receiving chemotherapy may not be well enough to drive themselves, and a partner or friend may have other commitments and not be available to provide the transport they need. We feel this new service will address those issues and be a real benefit to both patients and their family members. Often it is this type of practical help that can make a real difference to the wellbeing of patients and carers.” 

Geoff White, President of Community Transport Aid said, “CTA is always amenable to work with organisations such as the Cancer Outpatients Appeal to help local patients attend their medical appointments. Patients will book transport to the Cancer Services Centre through CTA and be transported home once their treatment is completed. We are proud to be able to offer this stress free service to patients.”

To book this free transport service patients simply call CTA on  4455 4415 during office hours, (9am – 4pm Monday to Friday).  They will be picked up from home and driven to a designated drop off point close to the Cancer Centre entrance. When  treatment is completed the volunteer driver will return them home.

The Cancer Outpatients Appeal a local, community based charitable organisation run entirely by volunteers, was established in 2003 to raise funds to build and equip the Cancer Services Centre and continues to supports the work of the Centre, its staff, volunteer services and its patients, their family members and carers.

Community Transport Aid is a local non-profit, charitable organisation run entirely by volunteers. It was established in 1983 to address the problem of lack of transport in the area and the inability of many residents, particularly the elderly, to reach medical and health related destinations.

For more information on the Cancer Outpatients Appeal visit our website www.canceroutpatientsappeal.org.au or call 4455 4953 and for more information on Community Transport Aid call 44 55 4415.

New Cancer Services director for Illawarra

Shoalhaven Local Health District Meets with Cancer Outpatients Appeal

The quarterly Governance meeting for the Milton Cancer Services Centre was chaired last week by the recently appointed Director of Cancer Services for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Anthony Arnold.

Anthony is a medical radiation therapist who brings experience and enthusiasm to the role of integrating cancer services throughout the Health District. He comes to the position at a time when cancer services are expanding significantly, particularly in the Shoalhaven with the building of the new cancer centre in Nowra which is due for completion in 2013. Anthony explained,” With the completion of the Nowra centre and expansion of Wollongong’s cancer facilities we will have a very comprehensive range of excellent cancer services thoughout the District. We will coordinate our intake process so patients will be directed to the best care available for their particular therapy needs. Having the two facilities in the Shoalhaven means patients will have access to a wider range of services, including radiation therapy, within the Shoalhaven and so will be able to receive care as close to home as possible and, importantly be able to make informed choices about their care and where it will be provided.

“ Many people are unaware of the role they can play in this decision process. In some cases they may have surgery in Sydney, but may still be able to opt for radiation and/or chemotherapy in their local area. Each case is different, but it is important that patients and family members participate in making those decisions in the full knowledge of what services are available to best meet their specific needs.

“ I was very impressed when I toured the Cancer Centre in Milton. It’s a great credit to the southern Shoalhaven community and will play an important role in our overall plan for the provision of cancer services throughout the District. Our quarterly governance meetings with representatives of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal provide an opportunity to review available programs and services and, importantly to identify opportunities to add new services. I am acutely aware of the lobbying the Appeal does to attract specialists to hold their clinics at Milton. While it is not possible at this time, we have committed to hold local specialist clinics when the Nowra centre comes on stream and, in the meantime, we are doing trials on video link consults in appropriate cases using the video conferencing facilities available in Milton. 

“The Appeal has also been lobbying for the introduction of genetic counselling in Milton and we are working on alternative ways this can be achieved in the foreseeable future. The Cancer Outpatients Appeal is a strong voice for the community and an important partner for the District as we develop cancer services into the future. We appreciate their commitment and input.”

New Infusion Pumps for Cancer Centre

The staff at the Milton Cancer Centre are all smiles thanks to the Cancer Outpatients Appeal which has purchased 8 new infusion pumps for the  Centre at a cost of $15,600.
The new IV pumps are the latest generation of pumps which keep pace with the changes taking place in the customised cocktail of drugs being ordered for individual chemotherapy patients. These changes are resulting in more complex treatments, with patients receiving different combinations of drugs over longer periods of time compared with a few years ago and these pumps are designed to provide the flexibility needed to meet these therapy changes.

Dee Carrington, President of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal said, “We are pleased to be able to support the advances in chemotherapy administration by purchasing these new IV pumps for the Cancer Centre.

“It is a notable achievement to report that over 95% of local cancer patients needing chemotherapy support are now able to be treated in Milton instead of having to travel to Nowra or Wollongong. This is a reflection of the growing skills and expertise of local staff and the importance of the Milton Cancer Centre in the provision of quality cancer services to our area. It makes the years of fundraising for and building the Cancer Centre all worthwhile when we see this progress and the benefits it brings to local patients and their families.

“The purchase of these pumps is a good example of why the volunteers of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal continue their charitable work in support of the Cancer Centre and the local community.We are grateful to local community groups, individuals, clubs and businesses who continue to donate to the Appeal and allow us to provide the support needed to see our Cancer Centre advance and develop.”

Carers’ Day A Huge Success

As part of Carers’ Week, Milton Ulladulla Hospital held a Carers’ Day to recognise and celebrate the outstanding and selfless contribution of carers in our community.

The day began with the Cancer Services Centre being transformed into a health and beauty salon where carers had a chance  to sign up for some serious pampering opportunities – hairdressing, facial, manicure, massage, Bowen therapy and reflexology. In between treatments, carers enjoyed morning tea and a chance to relax, chat and compare notes with other carers.

Organiser Bruce Corke, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, commented, “We were very pleased to see 26 carers able to take a break from their important carer roles to come along and enjoy this day. Having all these services available at the Cancer Services Centre meant they could enjoy all on offer in a relaxing and supportive environment. We would like to thank Viv Burns of Viv’s Mobile Hairdressing and Angela Book of Milton Hair Design  for providing hairdressing; Louise and the staff of Isis Egyptian Spa for setting up a room of beauty treatments; Kerry Devenport for providing Bowen Therapy; Marian Kain for massage and reflexology; and Sadhana Goulston for providing massage therapy.”

After a lunch prepared by Sea Juiced, the lucky door prize was drawn and Sue Pender was the winner of a beautiful  arrangement of native flowers designed by Milton Florists.

Bruce also thanked the Cancer Outpatients Appeal for sponsoring the Carers’ Day event.