NSLHD News September 23 2022

Helpline an ‘amazing’ support for patients For Northern Sydney Cancer Centre (NSCC)

“rewarding” experience. “Helping ensure patients receive nutritious meals is so important,” she said. “You help patients who wouldn’t be able to handle food properly or who simply need someone to chat to. “I like helping people and being part of the hospital environment. There’s a huge sense of reward from being involved.” Other help offered by volunteers includes supporting staff by clearing and cleaning bed tables prior to the arrival of food trays and feeding assistance. Volunteers will usually be needed from 11.30- 1pm Monday-Friday and free parking at the hospital is provided. They will receive full training and an orientation session will allow prospective VMAs to assess their suitability. Most VMAs work one day a week but more days could be arranged. The minimum age for a volunteer is 18. The scheme will run on adult wards at the hospital, excluding ICU and maternity. Anyone interested should email Marie Perkins on marie.perkins@health.nsw.gov.au or call 9485 6665. service for patient symptom management and referrals are made to the nurse practitioner (Symptom Urgent Review Clinic) as needed. A recent patient satisfaction survey highlighted the value of the helpline with several respondents providing positive comments about the quality and usefulness of advice given. Clinical Nurse Consultant, Rebecca Needham (pictured on cover), who helps run the Cancer Helpline, said it was great to hear such positive feedback for the important service. “It is reassuring and satisfying for us to hear as patient welfare is our top priority,” she said. Fellow Clinical Nurse Consultant, Kate Lyons, who also helps run the helpline, said it had proven to reduce the number of patients that attend the emergency department. “It has been particularly beneficial to our patients throughout the pandemic, enabling them access to the most up to date information around the evolving COVID-19 restrictions, vaccinations and testing requirements,” she said. “Not only does this (service) reduce the burden on our emergency services, but it is also much more beneficial for the patient – improving patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

patients like Maria Bedoya, the Cancer Helpline has been an “amazing” support during treatment. The service allows NSCC patients, their families and carers to access an experienced cancer nurse, who can provide guidance and support around treatment side-effects and health concerns. Maria, from Marsfield, called the helpline several times after being diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2021 and said it had been invaluable during her treatment. “When I had a question, they had a solution,” she said. “It was really amazing. There were times during my treatment when I was really worried. “For example, if my mouth was hurting or I was feeling something else that I was unsure about. “Every time I called, they always had the answer. They gave me peace of mind which was the most important thing and it was wonderful knowing that someone is there for you at that time.” The helpline is run by two experienced clinical nurse consultants that have expertise in managing side effects from cancer treatment in both haematology and oncology. The helpline provides a comprehensive

Resuming hornsby hospital service looking for volunteers Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital is seeking volunteers for its Volunteer Mealtime Assistants (VMAs) program.

VMAs are part of a vital service offered at Hornsby Hospital to increase the level of assistance provided for patients that may require additional support at meal times. Support offered by VMAs can include opening food packages, cutting up meals, encouraging patients to eat and helping make the meal time a more pleasant experience. Anne Rayment started volunteering with the program about seven years ago after seeing a newspaper advert and said it had been a

Hornsby volunteer, Anne Rayment



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