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Barbados Today : Greater support for cancer patients, families

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in collaboration with the Cancer Support Services is intensifying its cancer treatment services to embrace a more patient-centered model.

On Friday during the signing of another Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two entities at the Martindale’s Road, St Michael facility, executive chairman of the QEH Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland said it was important that the hospital adjusted its approach to palliative care because of the emotional trauma and fear cancer could evoke.

She added that having a more patient-focused approach helped to create an environment where cancer patients would see that there was life beyond their diagnosis.

“Cancer evokes a tremendous amount of fear and emotional response. Some people don’t even want to call the word but what research shows and the Cancer Support Services has been able to demonstrate is that cancer diagnosis does not have to mean the end of the road. There are many people in Barbados who are living with cancer. who are coping… and meeting with others who are also going through these experiences,” she said.

“Understanding what it means to face this diagnosis has really enriched the whole arena of addressing cancer. There have been many people who have been able to live with a cancer diagnosis. What we are here doing at the hospital, we are working on the two spectrums – ensuring that we could provide treatment care and support for those who have a diagnosis . . . making sure they can live with the diagnosis and thrive.

“We are also, on the other end of things, recognising palliative care is also an important part, how we die and how we support persons as they transition is as important as how we bring them into this world.

“As an institution, we have a duty to make sure that we are providing the best quality services across the spectrum from birth through to the end of life and this is what our partnership with this organisation allows us to do.”

Director of Nursing Services Henderson Pinder said the QEH had trained about 80 medical practitioners in its palliative care enrichment programme. He made a case for the course to be conducted two or three times per year instead of once.

“Our palliative care enrichment programme has been one of the most successful ventures we have had with the Cancer Support Services. This programme enables healthcare workers – doctors, nurses and other support persons – to gain a new perspective of the care that they give.

“It gives them an opportunity to look at the care from the caregiver’s side and also from the patient’s side. It helps them to be able to see some of the sensitivities that they themselves have about cancer, about dying, about going through the process of end of life,” he said. “Medical persons who have been through this course, have reported that they have begun to be more sensitive to the needs of the patient and the families and putting them at the front of the care process.”

Bynoe-Sutherland added that the QEH has increased its provision of medical drugs and amalgamated the hematology oncology and nuclear medicine departments to allow for better synergy to attend to patients with cancer.

Executive director of Cancer Support Services Janette Lynton expressed pride at the work of both entities and said she wanted to strengthen her organisation’s relationship with the children on C7 and C8.

According to her, the doctors on those wards wanted more representatives from the Cancer Support Services to give parents with children who have been diagnosed with cancer more support. (SZB)


Article originally published 11/27/2022 by Barbados Today


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