Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital

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For over 12 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 396,000 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

Occupational Therapy Equipment for Villas at Calvary Mater Newcastle

Calvary Mater Newcastle has onsite accommodation available for rural and remote patients receiving active treatment as an outpatient at the hospital. Thanks to Dry July funding, the hospital has been able to purchase occupational therapy equipment to assist patients staying in the Villas.

New equipment includes shower chairs, toilet aids, recliner chairs, highback chairs and bed wedges. The equipment has increased the safety and independence of Villa patients and it has improved the comfort of patients who, due to disease/treatment-related issues or comorbidities, have been unable to use standard equipment. While much of the equipment is now located in patients’ rooms for comfort and ease, one of the high-backed sitting chairs (which has a height adjustable seat) has been placed in the shared lounge area. This means that patients with mobility difficulties are able to enjoy the company of other patients and feel confident that there will be a comfortable chair for them to use safely and independently. A Villa patient commented “The chairs are very comfortable and easy to use,” while another said, “the personal care equipment has helped me to maintain my independence.”

Nicole Orozovic, Haematology Occupational Therapist, said, “The equipment has provided staff with options to assist patients who have issues with pain management, breathing difficulties, or high needs due to cancer-related issues or comorbidities. By having this equipment onsite it means that Villa patients are less likely to be admitted to hospital due to unmet care/equipment needs. This significantly improves patients’ quality of life.

Nicole concludes, “We are extremely grateful to Dry July for this generous donation. Our aim is to provide the best possible care to patients receiving cancer treatment and this donation has certainly helped us to improve the comfort of Villa patients and to ensure their safety and independence. Thank you.”

Items for Calvary Mater Newcastle Haematology Day Ward

Thanks to Dry July funding, the Calvary Mater Newcastle Haematology Unit, consisting of a 16-bed inpatient ward (Ward 5C) and a haematology day ward (Ward 5D), was able to purchase a number of items for patient comfort and care.

A comfy treatment chair  

Patients receiving treatment in the day ward now benefit from a new comfy treatment chair. This purchase has allowed the ward to replace one of its well-used and aging treatment chairs with something more comfortable.

Patients can be seated for treatment, including transfusions and chemotherapy for up to seven hours in the day ward, so this preferred chair is not only very comfortable it can also be positioned to provide care in the lying position.

A patient commenting on the new chair, “It’s great, the chair provides physical ease and relaxation for me when I come for my treatment”, with another patient saying, “I love that I can recline.”

An observation machine

Ward 5D is now a proud owner of a new observation machine that will enable staff to easily attend frequent patient observations during transfusions and chemotherapy. The extra machine will ensure safety of patients during infusions by identifying early symptoms if complications arise.  

Pressure injury prevention equipment for patients  

New pressure injury prevention equipment has now been bought for the Haematology Unit thanks to the generosity of Dry Julyers. The new gel cushions and waffle cushions have already been of great assistance to a number of haematology patients. The cushions assist with decreasing the risk of patients developing pressure injuries and increase patient comfort when sitting in a chair. This assists with reducing the impact of deconditioning and makes it easier for patients to transition back to home.

HoverMatt Air Transfer System at Calvary Mater

Thanks to Dry Julyers generosity Calvary Mater Newcastle now benefits from the purchase of two new HoverMatts. The HoverMatt Air Transfer System allows ward staff to safely transfer patients without lifting or straining. The Matts are extremely helpful to move patients who may be difficult to move because of their pain or size. The Matts provide the patient with more comfort and safety, with reduced skin shear and bruising.

Wendy Johnson, Haematology Nurse Unit Manager comments, “The HoverMatt makes moving our patients so much easier for the nurses and our patients feel much more comfortable throughout the process as well. They are a fantastic piece of equipment and we are very grateful to have been able to purchase them thanks to our Dry July supporters.”

A manbag with a difference!

In November 2016, Calvary Mater Newcastle patient Greg was admitted to hospital with a badly infected leg. It was necessary to remove infected tissue from a site in the leg where cancer had been removed some eight years earlier. Removal of the tissue resulted in a wound that would be difficult to heal due to the effects of six weeks of radiotherapy that followed the cancer operation. 

After nearly five weeks in hospital having the wound treated, Greg was able to be discharged thanks to the availability of one of three portable Vacuum-Assisted Closure (VAC) machines which were purchased with 2016 Dry July funding.

The VAC machine has benefitted Greg’s recovery significantly. The machine is a proven, non-invasive, advanced approach to negative pressure wound therapy to remove fluid from a wound or operation site and assist with wound healing. Without the VAC machine, Greg would need to be seen by a community nurse every day to drain the wound on his leg and change his dressings.

Greg comments, “The VAC machine only needs to be changed three times a week, giving me more freedom to do normal, everyday activities and reducing the inconvenience of waiting at home for extended periods of time.”

If the VAC machine was not available to Greg, there is a possibility he could be spending weeks, even months in and out of hospital, to treat the wound. The lightweight, portable machine has greatly reduced the size and depth of the wound, improved patient comfort and given Greg a better quality of life with less stresses on how to manage his wound and his life.

“I really appreciate the support Dry Julyers have given to Calvary Mater Newcastle. The Dry July funding used to purchase the VAC machines means that I am able to keep my wound under control in the comfort of my own environment and, there is the possibility of wound closure without further surgery. Besides, I can now say I have a manbag,” he said.

Motomed assisting patients- funded by Dry July

Mr A is a Calvary Mater Newcastle patient whose illness resulted in left sided leg weakness and left arm hemiparesis (no function in his left arm) at the age of 43. Following rehabilitation, he was able to return home independently with use of a walking stick.

However, since then his general mobility and walking endurance have declined. Late last year, Mr A was referred to the hospital’s Physiotherapy Department from his GP. Working together we set up a home exercise program of daily high repetition exercise training for his left arm and leg.

In physiotherapy sessions we endeavoured to use gym equipment but we found this difficult due to his level of weakness and tonic contractions that occur when he is trying to exercise.

We therefore trialled using the motomed which enables Mr A’s left foot to be strapped in and his hand placement to stay in place throughout exercise. Mr A has found this much easier and better to use. He enjoys using the motomed and benefits from the feedback of performance that the motomed provides as he exercises.

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