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Supportive care program

The supportive care program offers a range of resources, professional staff and services to support patients and families from the time of diagnosis, through to the end of their treatment. Supportive care is offered to all cancer patients and their families. Patients can ask a member of their care team for information about the services and resources available.

The supportive care program includes a number of different cancer care professionals. They are available to provide information, education, support, nutritional therapy, rehabilitation, spiritual care and pain and symptom management.

The supportive care team includes a:

Specialized oncology nurse (SON)
Oncology nurse specialists are registered nurses who specialize in cancer care. They work in the outpatient clinics, chemotherapy suite, radiation review and inpatient oncology unit to educate patients, deliver treatment and support the monitoring and management of treatment symptoms and side effects.

Each patient is connected with a nurse at the first outpatient clinic visit. He or she will become the main contact person to help patients with any questions or concerns they may have during their treatment. This nurse acts as a link for the patient with the supportive care program, their oncologist and resources in the community to help patients during their cancer treatment.

Oncologist or hematologist
Medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and hematologists are all doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer.

Pain and symptom management (P&SM) physician
Pain and symptom management physicians are available for consultation. They help manage complex symptoms resulting from illness or treatment.

Pharmacist
Pharmacists work closely with oncologists and the supportive care program. They are trained to evaluate chemotherapy treatment, provide drug information and make recommendations on medication related issues.

Radiation therapists
Radiation therapists work with radiation oncologists to plan and deliver radiation treatments and monitor any side effects of treatment.

Social worker (SW)
Social workers work with patients, family members and significant others to provide support, counselling and advice about available community supports. They can also help patients explore financial supports that are available, including income resources and coverage for prescription medications.

Physiotherapist (PT)
Physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat joint stiffness, muscle weakness, swelling and pain, and provide education on the importance of exercise to maintain wellness during cancer treatment. Special services offered at the cancer centre include prevention and treatment of lymphedema.

Registered dietitian (RD)
Registered dietitians provide nutrition information and education to patients and their families, helping patients to improve and maintain their strength and energy, stay at a healthy weight and manage the side effects of their treatment.

Spiritual care provider
Care for one’s spirit is an important part of any journey. Spiritual care involves all faith traditions, as well as accompanying individuals whose journey does not include a faith community.

For more detail, please visit our spiritual care page.

Music Therapist
Music can provide care and comfort, improve feelings of well-being, and assist in processing the emotional impacts of cancer. The music therapist works with outpatients, inpatients and family members to support them through their cancer using instruments, singing, songwriting, music listening, and relaxation, either at bedside or in the outpatient clinic.
 
Volunteers
All of our volunteers have been carefully screened and have attended training programs specific to their placement in the cancer center. They help to make patient visits easier and more comfortable.

Secretaries
Secretaries in the outpatient clinics, chemotherapy and radiation therapy programs schedule tests, book appointments and support the treatment process. If patients need to change an appointment, secretaries can be reached through the automated telephone line.

Patient Orientation Sessions
The new patient orientation sessions are led by volunteers, and all wellness workshops are led by members of the health care team. Workshops currently available:
  • New patient orientation
  • Introduction to chemotherapy
  • Income maintenance and drug coverage
  • Strategies for living with fatigue
  • Exercising for wellness
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Healthy eating (two different workshops)
Please click here to learn more about the wellness workshops and when they take place.

Patient orientation resource guide
A patient orientation resource guide will be sent to most patients prior to, or at their first outpatient clinic appointment. The resource guide introduces new patients to the services available at the GRRCC and helps them to prepare for their first clinic appointment. Click here to download the Patient Orientation Resource Guide in PDF format (1MB).
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