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Improving the experience and outcomes of people affected by cancer
Welcome to the GICS Newsletter - June / July 2022

This email newsletter is to share updates on programs of work, projects and events for the Grampians Integrated Cancer Service (GICS), along with information and links to what's happening in the world of cancer care.

We welcome you to our June / July newsletter which includes project updates and upcoming events occurring locally at GICS, within the Grampians region and across the state.

We have also listed a number of upcoming cancer events, along with cancer resources available to health professionals and patients alike.

Don't forget! If you have any upcoming events, resources or information you would like to share in this newsletter, please contact GICS.

In this Newsletter:

Local Updates

GICS Grants Program Update

The annual GICS Work Plan is informed by, and aligns with, the focus areas of the Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-2024. In line with key action area, Wellbeing & Support, the 2020-21 GICS Service Improvement Grant Program provided seed funding to support innovative projects that aim to improve the experiences and outcomes for those affected by cancer in the Grampians region.

Unfortunately COVID-19 has impacted the delivery of project submissions who had successfully obtained funding from GICS during our last funding round. However we can confirm that 3 of the 4 projects are currently underway and one project has been completed. In this issue we are happy to report on the project undertaken by Cancer Council Victoria has been completed;

Exploring how peer support can be optimised for carers of cancer patients receiving palliative care

This project aimed to conduct interviews with current carers and clinicians to explore ways to optimise and tailor peer support programs for carers of cancer patients receiving palliative care within the Grampians region.

The objectives were to understand:
  • the lived experience of regional and rural carers of people receiving palliative care for cancer
  • the role of peer support in meeting carers' needs in regional and rural settings, and
  • to make recommendations about how future peer support models may be structured with carers to meet their unmet support needs.
Interviews were conducted with 12 carers and 4 health professionals. Post interview, four themes were evident:
  • the caring context
  • caring in the time of COVID-19
  • potential peer support model
  • an embedded model
As a result of this project, an academic publication is planned, and the project was also presented at the Cancer Nurses Society of Australia annual conference in Brisbane last week.

The final report of this project can be found on the GICS website. We look forward to reporting on the following remaining projects in early 2023:
  • Virtual Why Wait for Wellness Program Evaluation & Regional Expansion - enhancing early access to health education and support for oncology patients in the Grampians region.
  • Feasibility of intra-infusion exercise in a regional chemotherapy day unit
  • Understanding patient experience to co-design and optimal referral management system.

Regional Updates

In 2015, GICS, the Department of Health and Deakin University collaborated on the Ophelia Project to understand health literacy needs across the Grampians region in an effort to identify opportunities for quality improvement through the development of local cancer plans. This resulted in a project that sought to explore the feasibility of providing a regular skin cancer screening and follow up service people living in the west Wimmera;

A place based, community-driven, nurse-led skin cancer care model in rural Victoria

This project is to be presented at the upcoming 16th National Rural Health Conference, 2 - 4 August 2022 in Brisbane, QLD by Dr Kristen Glenister, a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Dept. of Rural Health, who is based in Wangaratta.

The project is based on rural residents who face high rates of skin cancers and barriers to skin cancer care, including geographical distance, extended waiting times for service access and higher financial burdens. These issues can contribute to late diagnosis and poorer outcomes among rural patients.

A convergence of high consumer demand for skin cancer screening, long-term health, workforce shortages and a group of passionate individuals led to a place-based, nurse-led, skin cancer care initiative in rural western Victoria; the Wimmera, located in the Grampians region. This study was undertaken to describe the elements of the initiative and map changes of time, from start-up to implementation and service delivery over three years, using a program logic model.

To find out more about this presentation, including the methods and findings, please visit the conference website to view the listing of concurrent presenters, and search for Dr Kristen Glenister, to view the project abstract in full.

Grampians Health Staff are now CCV Cancer Education Program Facilitators

Cancer Wellness and Exercise programs aim to increase a patient’s ability to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. The program gives participating cancer patients access to eight weeks of group education and exercise led by trained facilitators.

There are now an additional nine health professionals from Grampians Health, working at Stawell & Horsham, who are now trained as Cancer Council Victoria (CCV) Program Facilitators. This will enable the 8 week Cancer and Wellness Program to provide greater access for those Wimmera residents affected by cancer.

Staff who participated in this training (pictured below) are representative of a number of allied health services including social work, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and dietetics, and they will expand the involvement of allied health in survivorship care. This adds more diversity and knowledge within the program.

The participants shared two days of training, facilitated by Jane Auchettl from CCV, at the Wimmera Cancer Centre. 

Statewide Updates

Cancer, COVID-19 & You Survey

Cancer is hard. COVID-19 made it even harder. The pandemic forced many changes in healthcare that affected cancer care – some changes were for the better, others weren’t.

Cancer Council Victoria (CCV), in partnership with The Daffodil Centre, is undertaking research to understand the impact of COVID-19 on people affected by cancer. This includes the emotional impact, treatment changes, the cost of cancer and hospital visitor restrictions.

If you were diagnosed with cancer, or cared for someone with cancer, during the COVID-19 pandemic, CCV want to hear from you.

The survey will be open for people to complete until 23 June 2022 and will take about 25 minutes to complete. 

Start Survey Now

Cancer Events

Telehealth Webinar - Conversations Matter

Communication Skills for Telehealth: Responding to High Emotion

The ability to identify and address strong emotions such as anger, anxiety and distress are important skills for health professionals. Acknowledgement of emotion can build trust and strengthen relationships between patients, carers and health professionals.

This interactive webinar will provide participants with tips and practical strategies when responding to strong emotions via telehealth. Participants will be guided by education experts in healthcare communication whilst exploring the topics of empathy, listening and reflection and why there are important skills when supporting patients and carers.
Course Details:
Date - Wednesday 13 July 2022
Time - 8.30am to 10.00am
Delivery - online via Zoom
Register Here

The CanEAT Cancer Nutrition Care Pathway Webinar

For people with cancer, carers and health professionals

Join Jenelle Loeliger (Head of Nutrition & Speech Pathology, PMCC) and Rebecca McIntosh (iCanEAT Project Officer & Senior Dietitian, PMCC) who will introduce the CanEAT pathway and help you navigate via HealthPathways and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre webpage. They will be joined by Tanith Lamaro from Access Health & Community and via a pre-recorded video from Dr Jane Crowe (Deepdene Surgery). 
Date - Wednesday 22 June  2022
Time - 6.30pm - 8.00pm
Delivery - online via Zoom
Register Here

Cancer Council Victoria Webinar - Supporting Emotions when Dealing with Bad News

Helping you to support people receiving a cancer diagnosis

Since the COVID-19 pandemic it has been observed that people have a heightened emotional response to bad news about their heath. Dealing with this can be challenging for all parties. 

Join this free masterclass which focuses on supporting emotions in difficult conversations to achieve optimal outcomes for all.

Through this interactive learning opportunity facilitators will use videos of role-playing interactions to increase your knowledge and skills in communicating, as well as your understanding of human behaviours. 

Date - Thursday 30 June 2022
Time - 7pm - 9pm
RSVP - Monday 27 June 2022

Register Here

Cancer Resources

Cancer Council Victoria

Visit the CCV website for  a range of resources available to both health professionals and people with cancer.

Cancer Survivor Guide

The Cancer Survivor Guide podcasts are a series of podcasts designed and created by our very own Consumer Advisory Group (CAG); a group of dedicated volunteers who have had cancer, or cared for someone with cancer. You can listen to the podcasts here.

In case you missed it...

GICS Annual Report 2020-21
Read the 2020-21 GICS Annual Report here.

GICS Spotlight
Read about the latest news and projects the GICS team have underway at our website.

Previous GICS Newsletters
Read previous editions of our newsletter

Sharing News 

Please feel free to share or forward our newsletter to your networks, family and friends.
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Forward Forward
If you have any forthcoming events or information you would like GICS to share, please forward your content to Vicki Hillis.
The Grampians Integrated Cancer Service is supported by the Victorian Government
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Grampians Integrated Cancer Service
PO Box 577
Ballarat VIC 3353

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Grampians Integrated Cancer Service (GICS) · 1 Drummond Street North · PO Box 577 · Ballarat, Vic 3350 · Australia

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