Maitland Private is pleased to announce the launch of Maitland Integrated Cancer Services – comprehensive cancer care that puts you at the centre of treatment planning and delivery.
A diagnosis of cancer can present many challenges as you set out on a journey you would no doubt prefer not to be undertaking. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments have contributed substantially to improvements in survival, but need to be managed carefully to ensure your safety and comfort.
Our team at Maitland Private Hospital Oncology Unit will work closely with your Oncologist to personalise your care and achieve the goals for which you are aiming. Please feel free to ask us about any special needs you may have and to give us feedback on your experiences.
The Oncology Unit at Maitland Private Hospital is designed for the comfort and safety of patients who require medical procedures and observation for a period of time but do not require an overnight stay. Highly trained and experienced nursing staff will care for you while you are in the Oncology Unit.
Other members of our treatment and support team include Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Exercise Psychologists, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Social Workers, Dietitians and relaxation massage Therapists.
The unit also has volunteers who will greet you and may offer you comforts such as a cup of tea, warm blanket or a chat. A light lunch will be provided along with morning and/or afternoon tea. Please feel free to ask questions if there is anything you do not understand or contact us prior to your first visit by phoning 4933 8400.
Your first visit
After we have received your referral, you will be given an admission time in the Oncology Unit. If you have any doubt about your admission time, please contact the unit 24 hours prior to your admission time. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please phone us on 4933 8400 to arrange another time. Location Enter via the Ground Floor Main Reception and proceed to level 1.
Before your treatment Generally, no special preparation is required before your treatment, but if there is (e.g. pathology tests or medications) your Oncologist, or specialist nurse, will inform you of this prior to your visit.
We suggest that you:
Drink plenty of water on the day, so you are well hydrated
Eat a normal breakfast on the day of treatment
Bring any snacks, reading material or music, e.g. iPod with headphones
Wear comfortable clothing
Feel free to bring your partner, family member or friend, especially on your first visit, to keep you company and listen to the instructions and education about your treatment. Children are not permitted to stay during treatment.
The cost of treatment may be covered by your private health insurance, contact your insurer to confirm. For prescriptions that fall under the Pharmaceutical benefit scheme the hospital pharmacy will require your Medicare Card, Health Care or Concession Card to be sighted on your first visit. For any queries regarding your treatment, medications or schedule please contact the Unit directly.
When you arrive at the Oncology Unit the specialist nurse will confirm your details and complete your health fund claim forms with you. A member of our nursing team, who will be caring for you and administering your treatment, will then greet you at the Reception desk and show you to your treatment chair.
Patients will sit in a comfortable armchair during their treatment. As treatment regimes vary from patient to patient, we have not provided any specific details in this booklet. Your own personalised Patient Information Sheet and Medication Profile will be given to you. The unit’s nursing and pharmacy staff will review this information with you. We want you to feel at home with us and hope that our relaxed atmosphere will help you feel more comfortable. During your treatment we can provide you with a warm blanket, tea and coffee, light refreshments and visitors lounge.
Information regarding your treatment
Each chemotherapy regime will vary and we will provide you with guidelines about your particular treatment in accordance with the NSW Cancer Institute Guidelines. Here are a few points common to most chemotherapy regimes:
It is usual to have regular blood tests while you are receiving treatment. With some treatments you will be required to have a blood test the day before each treatment. Occasionally, your treatment may need to be delayed or adjusted, if this is required your Oncologist will make this decision. While this is disappointing for patients it is necessary to ensure your safety and is not uncommon.
It is very important to seek advice and treatment for a temperature of 38°C or above while on chemotherapy and while your blood count may be low. Infection during this time can be serious and life threatening. If you experience any sign of infection, no matter how small, call your treating doctor immediately. For all urgent medical issues after hours and weekends please attend your nearest emergency department.
It is important to take your anti-nausea medications as prescribed, even if you do not feel sick at the time. These medications are prescribed to prevent nausea and NO nausea is our aim. If you find that the medications are not working adequately, tell your chemotherapy nurse and they will discuss different options with the Pharmacist or your treating Oncologist.
Some chemotherapy can cause a sore mouth known as mucositis. You can use sodium bicarbonate (bicarb soda) mouthwashes to treat or prevent soreness. You will need to put the equivalent of one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of warm water, and gargle four times a day. There are some commercial brands of mouthwash that may be suitable, but you should discuss this with the nurses or Pharmacist, as those brands high in alcohol can cause dryness and increase mucositis. Occasionally while on chemotherapy, some patients can develop oral thrush in their mouth. This can be very painful, but usually easy to treat with anti-fungal preparations. Talk to the nurses, pharmacist or your doctor if your sore mouth persists or you develop ulcers as there are also products available to assist if this occurs.
It is important to be vigilant with mouth care during this time, as breaks in the oral mucosa can be an entry route for infection. Similarly, it is important not to have dental work done during chemotherapy, however if it is necessary discuss this with your Oncologist.
Chemotherapy can interfere with regular bowel habits. Some cancer treatments can cause diarrhoea. If this is the case, discuss management with the nursing staff or your Oncologist. There may be dietary strategies that can help, and there are some medications that may also help (e.g. Lomotil, lmodium or Gastrostop). More commonly the anti-nausea medications and/or chemotherapy can cause constipation. Increasing fluids and a high-fibre diet may help, but it may be advisable to use ‘laxatives’ such as Coloxyl or Movicol to prevent this side effect.
Our Multi-Disciplinary Team
Your first point of contact during your cancer diagnosis and treatment planning will usually be a specialist doctor called an Oncologist. At Maitland Private Oncology Unit you will meet other members of our multi-disciplinary cancer team.
Clinical Nurse specialists
These specially trained and experienced nurses will care for you during your treatment. You are encouraged to contact them with any concerns or questions regarding your treatment. Business hours: 07.30 - 16.30 on 4933 8400
Some cancer and chemotherapy cancers can effect nutrition, our experienced Dietitians can provide advice regarding this if required.
Maitland Private Hospital Oncology Unit employs a dedicated Clinical Pharmacist who can assist you with any information regarding medication regimes.
A Social Worker is available to assist patients, families and carers with personal and practical difficulties. Physiotherapists/Exercise Psychologists Maitland Private Hospital has a team of experienced Physiotherapists and Exercise Psychologists who can help you with issues relating to your cancer and treatment, including specialists in the treatment of lymphoedema (swelling caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in the body).
Through our professional multidisciplinary team, Maitland Private Hospital aims to deliver a personalised, safe and supportive experience for our Oncology patients. We welcome any suggestions for change or improvement to our service that will make your treatment more comfortable.