Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital

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For over 13 years, Calvary Mater Newcastle has been privileged to be a Dry July beneficiary. Over this time we have been fortunate to have had a vast array of projects and equipment funded that have made a huge difference to the experience of our cancer patients and their families when they are being treated at the hospital.

By raising funds for the hospital through Dry July, you will be funding projects for our oncology services that directly benefit and assist in the comfort and care of our patients and their families.

Calvary Mater Newcastle is the major cancer care centre for the Hunter New England Local Health District, delivering more than 460,000 occasions of outpatient services and in excess of 17,000 inpatient treatments per year.

We provide a comprehensive range of cancer services, diagnosis and treatment including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, bone marrow transplants and surgery.

As the region’s tertiary referral cancer hospital, we treat a lot of patients who travel a great distance to have their treatment. Comfortable and convenient accommodation is available onsite for rural and remote patients receiving treatment as an outpatient at the hospital.

Calvary Mater Newcastle is also home to our world renowned research facility and is the main centre for cancer clinical trials in the region.

Thank you for choosing to support Calvary Mater Newcastle.

Latest Updates

Keeping a low profile

Following the 2021 Dry July campaign, Ward 4C (Oncology) was lucky to receive funding to purchase two low-profile beds as part of a vital strategy to reduce falls and minimise harm for patients who commonly experience cognitive changes associated with advanced cancer and other chronic diseases.

Some of the features of the low profile bed include:

• An inbuilt alarm that can alert staff when the patient is getting out of bed.

• Superior positioning options to aid in the prevention of pressure areas and promotion of comfort.

• The beds are able to weigh the patient without the need to get the patient out of bed which is extremely useful in calculating doses of chemotherapy when the patient has mobility or pain issues.

• Has the capacity to cater for patients up to 270 Kg and can be extended to cater for tall patients.

Megan Kepreotis, Nurse Unit Manager Ward 4C (Oncology), commented, “We are very grateful to have been able to add two more low profile beds to our ward thanks to Dry July funding.

“The low profile beds are very popular with our patients as they are a comfortable bed, which offers a wide range of movements, and many benefits to improve patient safety.”

Christine's Story

For Christine Neville, 10 August 2021 will always be a date she remembers – the day she discovered she had breast cancer.

Since the diagnosis, Christine’s life has been understandably turned ‘upside down’. In September and October 2021 Christine endured two rounds of surgery to remove the cancer and some lymph nodes; this is currently being followed by chemotherapy, which will continue for a total of 16 weeks. Once this treatment has finished, Christine will then face radiation therapy five days a week for five weeks, with the knowledge that she will have endocrine therapy for a further seven years.

The speed by which Christine’s diagnosis happened, followed by the commencement of her treatment, meant Christine had a lot to take in in a short amount of time, with the change in her physical appearance being just one consideration.

Christine was known for her beautiful thick curly hair so “the knowledge that my hair would 100 per cent fall out throughout my chemotherapy treatment was a shock,” said Christine. “Once chemotherapy started my hair started to fall out in chunks every hour, I felt shattered throughout the whole process.”

“On Christmas Day I couldn’t bear seeing my hair fall out any longer so opted to shave my head. It allowed me to feel momentarily in control and the coolness I felt after all the hot flushes I had been experiencing was refreshing.”

Since the commencement of Christine’s treatment she has been receiving support from the hospital’s McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Helen Moore. Thanks to Dry July support, Helen was able to offer Christine a variety of turbans in different styles, colours and patterns. Christine said, “The turbans are great, they are soft, keep my head warm and also come in some lovely patterns. I like to wear one when I go out as I find I don’t get stared at as much. I also went on to purchase an additional one for night time as they really are so handy.”

Christine concludes, “It’s the small gestures like the turbans that really make a difference at a time when you need it the most!”

Thank you Dry July Foundation for making this possible.

Thanks to you, Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Ward 5C is now benefitting from the purchase of ten new vital sign patient monitors

Thanks to Dry July funding, Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Ward 5C (Haematology) is now benefitting from the purchase of ten new vital sign patient monitors that have been installed into the ward’s single rooms.

For many of the hospital’s patients being treated for leukaemia they will spend a large proportion of their stay in one of the single rooms due to disease-related symptoms and treatment side-effects.

The new monitors enable staff to ensure that clinical and observation monitoring is carried out effectively and safely for each patient isolated in these rooms.

Linzi Nolan, Nurse Unit Manager Wards 5C/D, said, “Checking and recording clinical observations, blood pressure, temperature, etc, is carried out every four hours and is vital in terms of monitoring for sepsis and deterioration which can occur very acutely in the haematology patient cohort.

“We are very grateful for the funding provided by Dry July to enable the purchase of these monitors. They are fast, efficient, and now conveniently installed at each bedside.”

The Department of Radiation Oncology’s walls come to life thanks to Dry July 2021 funding

The Department of Radiation Oncology’s corridors at Calvary Mater Newcastle have come to life thanks to a new mural installed in the department following Dry July funding.

Patients and staff are now greeted by a colourful and fun mural depicting local Newcastle scenes and landmarks, designed by talented local artist Mitch Revs. The mural is located in the corridor leading to the Zeus treatment unit and has brought joy and fun to the walls.

Karen Jovanovic, Chief Radiation Therapist, said, “Cancer diagnosis is a huge, life-changing event, causing much anxiety for our patients. It has long been recognised that the environment patients encounter while attending hospital or clinic for health-related appointments influences patients’ stress levels. Our staff try to alleviate patients’ anxiety in many ways, including making the physical environment more comfortable, rather than clinical, thereby helping the patient to have a positive experience.”

On the addition of this mural Karen comments, “Patients usually spend a few minutes seated waiting in the corridor prior to treatment and will therefore have a chance to look for details in the Newcastle scene. This mural is a fun distraction and a great talking point that we hope will help improve the patient experience.”

Calvary Mater Newcastle Oncology Loan Pool gets a boost

Thanks to Dry July funding the Calvary Mater Newcastle Oncology Loan Pool continues to go from strength to strength as worn equipment is replaced and an additional range of equipment brought in.

The Oncology Loan Pool provides free short term loan of equipment to assist patients when they are discharged home or supports them to remain at home while receiving cancer treatment. Undergoing treatment and recovery from cancer can be a financially challenging time, and having access to the free Oncology Loan Pool assists in alleviating some of this burden.

A range of equipment is available to assist patients with activities of daily living like showering, toileting, transferring and mobility, as well as providing comfort measures to reduce pressure injuries.

Andrew Wakely, Occupational Therapist in Charge, says. “You cannot underestimate the difference the Oncology Loan Pool makes to our patients and their family members.

“One of our previous patients was undergoing treatment for breast cancer for a period of five years. Throughout this time and until her death, the Occupational Therapy Department was able to loan her items regularly to meet her ever changing comfort and functional needs. Items included cushions, mattresses, dressing aids, bathroom assistive equipment and a wheelchair.

“Sadly, several years later, the same patient’s husband found himself with an aggressive cancer diagnosis, also requiring assistance with a small amount of equipment to help him and his family manage his illness at home. With the aid of this equipment, the adult sons were able to care for their father right up until his death, and were very thankful that it assisted them to spend more quality time with their father in a familiar environment. The equipment reduced the patient’s risk of falls and increased his mobility, as well as providing comfort measures and assistive aids for showering and toileting. The service was free of charge, and took one more burden away from the family in their time of need.”

Andrew concludes, “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to assist our patients in what for many can be one of the most challenging and traumatic periods of their lives. However, this couldn’t happen without the generosity of Dry July allowing us to update and broaden our range of Oncology Loan Pool equipment. Thank you.”

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