September 24th sees the pilot launch of the ‘My Health Matters’ a kit for cancer patients who are referred through the Palmerston North cancer services. Newly diagnosed patients will be offered the support of an oncology social worker, a community PHO nurse, Iwi coordinator or a staff member from the Cancer Society to talk them through the use of the kit, which is designed to encourage patients to take a more active role in managing their health care.
“This is an exciting step forward in meeting the supportive care needs of all cancer patients regardless of what kind of cancer they have been diagnosed with” says Sarah Penno, project lead from the Cancer Society. “Research has shown that a significant number of patients do not get the information they need, are not involved in decision making at the level they want to be and are unclear about what the plan is for their care. We are hoping that by providing this kit we can support patients and staff to ask the right questions and to get the best answers. Ultimately the aim is to improve the quality of care for all patients.”
Jo Anson, Network Manager for the Central Cancer Network, said “We are hoping that this pilot will give us some insight into how we can get better at joining the dots across primary and secondary care, and non-government agencies like the Cancer Society. Ultimately we are hoping to improve the service all patients get, regardless of what cancer they have and where they live.”
Evaluation of the pilot will be led by researchers from Otago University who will interview both patients and staff to see how the kit has helped patients manage the minefield of information and decision making that goes along with a cancer diagnosis.
With the fantastic support from the staff of the DHB, the Iwi Coordinators, PHO nurses, Central Cancer Network as well as the Central Division of the Cancer Society, the pilot will help iron out any issues before the kit is made available nationwide, hopefully at the end of 2013.