2017 Dry July Foundation Grant funding - 3D Bolus
The Radiation Oncology Planning team at Calvary Mater Newcastle is grateful for funding from the Dry July Foundation to allow them to create special patient bolus which is used for radiotherapy treatment.
In radiation therapy, bolus is often used when treating uneven areas of a patient, such as at the nose or ears, to make up for missing tissue, or to provide build-up of dose to the skin surface.
Through Dry July funding the team was able to purchase ‘3DBolus’ software, which is the first clinical use of this new software in Australia. The software allows the department to 3D print personalised patient bolus with better ease, making it a more comfortable experience for the patients, who no longer need to be present and immobilised while the bolus is being made.
Dr Trish Ostwald, Senior Medical Physics Specialist, Calvary Mater Newcastle says, “The most exciting thing about the software is that it allows us to modulate the bolus shape to improve treatments for some complex patient plans. By modifying the bolus we can shape the dose around the tumour and reduce radiation to nearby critical organs. Designing complex variable bolus used to be difficult, but it is much easier and more accurate with the new software.”
The Radiation Oncology Department is now testing the 3D printed bolus and designing the clinical workflow prior to using it clinically. The initial test cases look very promising.
Airvo humidifiers -Thanks Dry Julyers'
Patients and staff of Calvary Mater Newcastle’s Oncology Ward 5B are very grateful for Dry July funding which has enabled the purchase of two much-needed Airvo humidifiers.
For patients with head and neck cancers, the humidifiers assist with by warming and moistening the air, alleviating drying out of airways and reducing symptoms related to head and neck cancers.
As head and neck cancer patients don’t breath through their noses, airways can dry out quickly causing excess saliva build-up, leading to further complications.
Linda Liversidge, Ward 5B Nursing Unit Manager commented, “It has been fantastic having the Airvo Humidifiers to loan out to patients who have had tracheostomies or laryngectomies. As humidifiers are costly to hire, patients now don’t have the added stress of finding funds to obtain a machine. It gives these patients the flexibility to go home, avoiding extended stays in hospital.”
Oncology Equipment Loan Pool - Thanks to Dry Julyers'
Thanks to Dry July funding, the Occupational Therapy Department at Calvary Mater Newcastle was able to purchase a large range of assistive aids for the hospital’s Oncology Equipment Loan Pool.
The Oncology Equipment Loan Pool is a comprehensive service that is provided free of charge to any Calvary Mater Newcastle oncology outpatient receiving treatment. The pool provides a vast range of assistive devices and appliances to help patients manage the functional disabilities that occur with cancer diseases. Equipment includes: wheelchairs, pressure cushions, shower chairs, commodes, raised toilet seats, portable ramps, bathboards, swivel bathseats, to name but a few. At any one point in time up to 300 patients can be benefiting from this pivotal service.
Prior to this funding many of the items on loan were approaching their end of life. Thanks to Dry July, the team has now updated and expanded upon the hundreds of items they currently have available for patients including new bariatric equipment.
Andrew Wakely, Occupational Therapist-in-Charge, Calvary Mater Newcastle, says, “The equipment we provide through this program saves the patient and their carers from the added burdens of falls, pressure injuries, being immobile or housebound.
“For many of the patients we provide equipment to it is the only item that may get them to the shops (using the example of wheelchairs), or the only way that they can enjoy a hot bath or shower (using our specialised bathing assistive items). These are just two examples of the difference the appliances make.
“A sincere thank you to all the Dry Julyers who enabled us to purchase this new equipment, without you help and assistance we wouldn’t be able to support the many patients that we do.”
Blood Pressure Monitors in Newcastle
Thanks to the generosity of Dry Julyers, staff and patients at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Medical Centre are now benefiting from the purchase of four new blood pressure monitors.
The valuable monitors are situated in the Medical Centre corridors giving staff easier access to the equipment without having to leave their work area or their patients. It also allows doctors to have access to a monitor in a clinic room if they wish, preventing interruptions in consultations.
Mark Barrie, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Medical Centre, comments, “With the addition of four new blood pressure monitors in the Medical Centre, our patients now have more timely access to the latest technology equipment, meaning less interruptions to their care. Thank you for supporting us Dry July.”
Sara Stedy at Calvary Mater Newcastle
Ward 4B (Surgical) at Calvary Mater Newcastle is now the proud owner of a Sara Stedy which is already making a big difference to the lives of patients on the ward.
The Sara Stedy is utilised for the patient after postoperative cancer surgery as a transfer aid that provides mobility, support and encourages more mobile patients to stand up independently.
Cheryl Cooley, Nurse Unit Manager Ward 4B (Surgical) comments, “It is wonderful to have a Sara Stedy. This piece of equipment increases our patient’s independence and dignity, and assists our nurses to safely and easily assist patients in adjusting their clothes after bathing. It is a fantastic addition to the ward.”