Progress against Cancer

It’s been three years since Bluewater Health first saw an opportunity to transform its cancer program and refocus priorities on the needs of patients and families beyond just treatment.

In that time, the hospital’s cancer services have touched thousands of lives and it continues to advance its vision of better coordinated care closer to home.

“We really saw our vision as a blueprint for advancing and enhancing cancer care in our community,” said Vicki Lucas, Business Director of Surgery, Rehabilitation, Ambulatory Care and Oncology at Bluewater Health. “Our plan set out the most important actions that needed to be taken to improve quality of care and access for patients. Our goals supported those of Cancer Care Ontario as well as other provincial government strategic priorities related to wait times, access to care and quality – ultimately, what we created was a strategic cancer care program at Bluewater Health, one that is comprehensive, coordinated and patient and family focused – built around patients and families, for patients and families.”

With the opening of the Cancer Care Assessment & Treatment Centre, Bluewater Health has seen early and dramatic results.

Through the role of the Patient Navigator, the hospital is now providingmore support to patients and familiesand creating links to community agencies and care partners, especially family physicians. In the year since its opening, referrals to the centre have risen sharply which can be attributed to better continuity of care thanks to the supportive and facilitative role of Phil Taylor, RN, Patient Navigator and Clinical Nurse Specialist. Phil’s focus is on engaging with patients from the time of diagnosis or decision to treat through to surgical or chemotherapy treatment. Walking hand in hand with the patient through their cancer journey is improving the patient experience during a time of high anxiety and fear.

Bluewater Health’s talented team of surgeons shared the organization’s vision for a better coordinated cancer program, to provide more care, close to home and ultimately create greater awareness and confidence about the top notch cancer care service available here in Sarnia-Lambton. They played an integral part in co-creating Diagnostic Assessment Plans. These plans prescribe how each cancer care patient – by type of cancer – is assessed, treated, and advanced through the system of care in a quicker, standardized and more convenient way. Knowing the journey is half of the battle.

In Ambulatory Care, Oncology and the Breast Assessment Program area of Diagnostic Imaging, the hospital continues to improve access to treatment and specialists.

With the recent introduction ofthe Oncology Patient Information System or OPIS,a computerized drug ordering and entry system, the hospital is enhancing patient safety and provider efficiency. OPISimproves access to best practice guidelines andcoordinates chemotherapy treatments faster and more seamlessly.

Cancer surgery wait times at Bluewater Health are excellent and continue to be better than the provincial target.

Simply put, better coordinated care, shorter waits, and quicker results and procedures, is better patient care!

For more information about Bluewater Health’s cancer care services, please visit and click on Programs & Services.