Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital

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Funds raised this Dry July will help fund equipment, programs and refurbishments

About Us

Calvary Mater Newcastle is the major cancer care centre for Hunter New England Local Health District, delivering more than 485,000 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. Calvary Mater Newcastle is recognised as a leading research centre. It is also the main centre for cancer clinical trials in the Hunter region, with local, national and international research collaborations taking place.

By raising funds for Dry July and choosing to support Calvary Mater Newcastle, you are helping fund projects for our oncology services that directly benefit and assist in the comfort and care of our patients and their families.

The projects and equipment funded in 2023, included:

- Two chemotherapy treatment chairs for the Day Treatment Centre
- Post-operative surgical bras for women undergoing surgery for breast cancer and breast reconstructive surgery
- Enhance and update equipment in the Occupational Therapy Oncology Equipment Loan Program.

By supporting us in 2024, we hope to improve the patient experience for those being treated within our outpatient services.

Thank you for choosing to support Calvary Mater Newcastle.

Latest Updates

Arts for Health at Calvary Mater Newcastle

Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Mercy Hospice, part of the hospital’s Department of Palliative Care, is a place of care and compassion for patients facing serious illness.

The Fig Tree Program is run in the Hospice and provides an opportunity for palliative care patients to participate in a range of creative activities in a supportive group setting. It has been running for over 18 years and the positive impact it has on both patients and their families and carers, cannot be over stated.

Thanks to recent Dry July funding, the program has been able to enhance its creative offering with the skills and fresh ideas of two Novocastrian artists, Dr Annemarie Murland and Marika Osmotherly, to engage in an ‘Arts for Health’ project.

It has long been recognised that art enriches peoples’ lives in many ways, be it in the form of music, visual arts, or performance. Art in the hospital environment fosters the exploration and expression of thoughts and feelings in relation to a person’s illness.

The artists conduct a session each month facilitating new ideas around the theme, memory and leaving your mark in time and place. The art projects have been designed to allow for personal narratives to capture the essence of the art they are creating.

Additionally, once a month, Annemarie and Marika are artists in residence in the Fig Tree Room. The artists are perfectly situated within the Hospice to interact with families and friends of visiting patients, as well as staff. A place where memories and experiences are willingly shared, the artists’ practice and direction is informed by their environment - a cathartic experience for all involved!

Both Annemarie and Marika are no strangers to arts in the health setting with both artists placing a heavy importance on the need for a felt experience to inform the visual.

“When people engage in creativity there is a shift in the person’s presence and a sense of empowerment is created. It allows a sense of contextualising for the participants which is important in a hospital environment,” says Annemarie.

Jo Davis, an Occupational Therapist at Calvary Mater Newcastle and one of the Program Coordinators, says, “Patients attend the program for a variety of reasons. Some have complex care needs but by maintaining this link to the Hospice it means that these patients can carry on living at home. Others attend to give their carers a couple of hours respite per week, while many come for the social interaction and enjoy taking part in new creative experiences.” Whatever the reasons, there is a common thread, the wish to live an everyday meaningful life despite health circumstances.

“The Fig Tree Program, unlike a hospital clinic, is structured to simply bring together people to enjoy every day social connection and creative activity despite serious illness. The program is very much guided by the needs and interests of those who attend. The great thing about art is its non-confrontational; it is accessible to everyone. I think this is what makes the program work so well,” says Jo.

People from all walks of life have participated. “Every person involved in the project has got something out of it. The beautiful thing about art is that it can constantly surprise – artists, facilitators, friends and families of the participants – it just has that potential,” says Annemarie.

Since the Dry July funded ‘Arts for Health’ project has been running, a number of pieces of art have been created that combine the participants’ individual work to create a visually stunning piece. Individual colourful drawings pieced together to create a patchwork rug effect, plaster casts of participants hands individualised and then created into a hanging art installation of bird like sculptures, portraiture, to name but a few.  

All pieces created both in the Fig Tree Program and by the artists in residence sessions will cumulate in an exhibition later in the year for participants, staff, friends and families to enjoy.

Recliner Chairs at Calvary Mater Newcastle

On the purchase of recliner chairs for cancer patients at Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle, Lara Riley, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Ward 4B, said,

“Last year, Ward 4B (Surgical) was fortunate enough to receive funds from Dry July to purchase two patient bedside recliner chairs. These chairs are positioned using a simple lever action and aid patients in a comfortable recovery by facilitating a full recline with legs raised. They are a popular addition to Ward 4B and are used on a daily basis. Both patients and staff are very grateful for this addition to the ward. Thank you!”

Comfort and Support Cushions at Calvary Mater Newcastle

Thanks to Dry July funding, the Occupational Therapy Department at Calvary Mater Newcastle was able to purchase 14 ‘comfort and support’ cushions for the hospital’s Oncology Equipment Loan Pool.

These specialised cushions are an invaluable resource for patients, with pressure care being so important in preventing further injury to already vulnerable patients. 

Patients are able to take the cushions home and use them over a three month period at no cost. Due to the huge demand for the cushions, moments after being delivered to the department the cushions were being lent out to patients in need.

Kylie Murchie, Occupational Therapy Technical Assistant, said, “We are very pleased to offer this extra level of comfort and care to our patients as a result of this money, thank you.”

New items for Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle

Calvary Mater Hospital used Dry July funds in 2013 to purchase:

  • 10 electric recliner chairs  for patients to relax outside of bed and/or have a visitor/support person remain overnight in the room
  • new ROHO cushions, bed heel elevators and clinirest comfort care cushions specially designed to prevent pressure injuries
  • items for the Oncology Equipment Loan Pool, which allows patients to reside at home during their ongoing care

Wig Library at Calvary Mater Hospital

Calvary Mater Hospital manages a wig library which receives regular funding from Dry July. This free service is offered to cancer patients who have lost their hair during the course of their treatment.

The Wig Service at Calvary Mater Hospital is run by volunteers and operates every second and fourth Monday monthly at the hospital assisting approximately 450 patients each year from all over the Hunter New England region. The Wig Service is a personalised service; hairdressers are trained in the wig fitting and take time with each client. The service at Calvary Mater was partially funded by Dry July in 2011 and fully in 2012.  In addition, we are pleased to report that some of Dry July fundraising in 2011 went towards refurbishing the Wig Service waiting area making the space more comfortable.

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