New service offers faster assessment for cancer patients with urgent symptoms

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It is not uncommon for patients undergoing treatment to experience side effects or sometimes painful complications that need to be addressed in an urgent manner. The Regional Cancer Centre at developed a new program to address this and improve patient care. The REACT: Rapid Evaluation and of Cancer Treatment clinic was designed as a patient-centred service offering patients undergoing cancer treatment at Trillium Health Partners’ Credit Valley Hospital site a more timely option for assessing their urgent symptoms and side-effects from treatment within 30 days of their last treatment.

Ted Goodwin was in the midst of undergoing his first round of chemotherapy treatments when he developed a severe pain in his back and began to feel unwell. He knew something was wrong and that he needed immediate help with his symptoms. “It was like a two-by-four was shoved in my back,” described Ted, 54.

Unbeknownst to him, his lungs were filling up with fluid. Ted placed a call to his primary care nurse at Trillium Health Partners’ Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre, who directed him to the REACT clinic. Upon his arrival, he was assessed by the REACT oncology nurse and treated a few hours later by a general practitioner specializing in oncology. “I felt so relieved,” aded Ted. “I received great care and they took care of my immediate needs in an efficient and timely manner. It left me with peace of mind that I was in good hands.”

When a patient calls the REACT clinic they are immediately connected with an oncology nurse who will assess the patient’s condition and recommend next steps, with help from a general practitioner specializing in oncology and the medical and radiation oncology team at Trillium Health Partners’ Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre.

“Our patients undergoing cancer treatment can experience such side-effects as fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. For support, many wait until their next scheduled appointment or visit the emergency department. We knew that we could provide them with an option to better suit their specific needs,” said Dr. Katherine Enright, Medical Oncologist, Trillium Health Partners, and Regional Lead, Systemic Treatment Quality, Mississauga Halton Central West Regional Cancer Program. “The REACT clinic revolves around the patient experience. It provides a quick response to our patient’s concerns, helps them to manage their urgent symptoms, and can help them avoid an emergency department visit.”

In 2014-15, the bustling Carlo Fidani Regional Cancer Centre and Oncology Program at Trillium Health Partners welcomed over 141,000 patient visits from across the Mississauga Halton and Central West regions. By offering the REACT clinic to its patients that currently receive cancer treatment at Credit Valley Hospital, Trillium Health Partners has provided faster and more convenient access to services that address their most urgent needs.

“With REACT, our patients receiving cancer treatment now have more timely access to high-quality specialized care for their urgent symptoms,” says Sarah Banbury, Program Director, Oncology Services, Trillium Health Partners, and Regional Director, Mississauga Halton Central West Regional Cancer Program. “Ultimately, this can improve their quality of life and contribute to better outcomes in their care and treatment plan.”

For more information please visit www.trilliumhealthpartners.ca/patientservices/cancerservices

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