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Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation

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$3,517.62 raised

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Nothing can replace the confidence of knowing that you can expect the best possible care – never more so than when a patient is facing a life-threatening illness such as cancer. Help us raise funds to improve patient comfort and recovery at Cairns Hospital.

Now in our 21st year, the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation on a daily basis, strives to improve health care services for thousands of residents living across this remote and regional area, which extends from Cardwell in the south, west to Croydon and north to Cape York and the Torres Strait. (Cairns Hospital even receives patients from Papua New Guinea.)

Latest Updates

Megan's Story

Megan Barker remembers well the moment she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at the age of 43 years.

With her husband working away in Cape York and two children aged 14 and 11 it was very important for Megan that she was able to undergo her treatment at the Liz Plummer Centre at Cairns Hospital. Previously patients have had to travel south to Townsville and Brisbane for their treatment.

“I have had 7 months of chemo, 12 months of targeted treatment and 6 weeks of radiation so I feel very fortunate that I was able to have all my treatment locally at this amazing centre. Everything is in the one spot and it is gold standard all the way”.

Dry July has donated over a hundred thousand dollars to Cancer services in Far North Queensland over the last few years. This money has bought vital equipment that has both prevented the need for patient travel and made their time spent in both the day oncology ward the cancer care ward a more comfortable experience. Several tilting treatment recliners were purchased for the Liz Plummer Centre and Megan is just one of many patients who have benefitted from using them.

“The veins in my arms disintegrated as my treatment progressed so I had to have a port inserted in my chest in order to continue. The nurses were able to tilt and change the position of the chair which allowed them to access my port easily and with minimal discomfort,” Megan explains.

“I celebrated the final day of my treatment on May 5th 2017 and I rang that bell as hard as I could! I’ve come a really long way on this cancer journey, with my wonderful husband and beautiful children supporting me every step of the way.”

“I would like to say thank you to all the local people who participate in Dry July,” Megan said. “They’re helping to support the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation which is a fantastic organisation that works tirelessly to improve our local health services.”


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Dry July celebrates Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation's 20th year.

Dry July joined celebrations for the 20th year of service of Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation along with many other business and community groups - we are proud to assist this great Foundation.

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Dry July Saves Lives

PHOTO: Acting Nurse Unit Manager Rebecca Johnson chats with leukaemia patient Jim Colbert while he rests in a treatment chair.

A MONTH off the booze for 65 Far North fundraisers will mean earlier diagnosis for some cancer patients in the region.

Not only that, but since the Liz Plummer Cancer Centre started using the CADD pumps that the Dry July fundraisers helped buy more of, they have saved more than 300 inpatient bed days and $240,000 in drug costs to the hospital.

The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation received $28,905 in funding from Dry July, enabling the purchase of a treatment chair for the oncology day unit, six chemotherapy pumps for administering chemotherapy at home and a moisture meter to measure swelling in some cancer patients.

Liz Plummer Cancer Centre advanced pharmacist Jason Black said CADD chemotherapy administration pumps make a huge difference to the patient experience.

“The use of these pumps allow patients to be treated at home rather than have to come into hospital for several days. I actually had no idea how big an impact they would have, until I had one patient who had booked in to see a psychologist and arranged to take anti-depressants because the hospital experience can be so intense. We administered his chemotherapy using the CADD pump and treated him as an outpatient. He told me his experience was vastly improved and didn’t require any of his psychology interventions anymore. They help allow the hospital to keep inpatient beds for patients who most need them.”

A moisture meter which also has been bought, allows staff to assess swelling in patients with breast and head/neck lymphoedema. Liz Plummer Cancer Care acting advanced oncology occupational therapist Caitlin Ryan said they had not previously been able to offer this service.

“The ability to obtain these measurements will allow our therapists to not only detect these conditions earlier for our clients, but provide more accurate assessment of their swelling over time and between therapists. This in turn will ensure any increases in swelling can be detected earlier and addressed promptly to ensure the best possible outcome for these clients. I would like to sincerely thank the Foundation and the local community who have worked so hard to raise the funds required to purchase this moisture meter for our clinic.”

In addition, another treatment chair has been bought for the oncology day unit.

Oncology Day Unit acting Nurse Unit Manager Rebecca Johnson said patients often spend long hours in the chairs receiving treatment, and it was important they feel comfortable during their stay. “The treatment chair is also extremely practical for staff, who are required to perform tasks at various heights, as the chair is fully automatic and allows the patient to recline in various positions. The funding that was raised from the community during your Dry July campaign has certainly been put to good use,” Ms Johnson said.

Foundation CEO Tony Franz said the Foundation had received more than $130,000 from Dry July since 2012, and it was rewarding to know it was going directly to help those who needed it.

“We've all been affected by cancer in some way but Dry July is an easy and fun way for people to fundraise with their friends to make a difference – potentially to their friends' lives,” Mr Franz said.

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Fundraising to Enable Treatment at Home

In Cairns, Dry July raises funds for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation to support local cancer services.

This year funds raised from Dry July will go towards the Liz Plummer Cancer Centre for equipment. The ward needs four new pumps that enable patients to receive their treatment at home. Without CADD pumps, some patients would need to be admitted to hospital for days at a time. Being treated at home makes a world of difference to patients physically, emotionally and psychologically.  

Cairns Hospital Liz Plummer Cancer Centre Senior Pharmacist Jason Black says the CADD chemotherapy administration pumps make a huge difference to the patient experience. 

“The use of these pumps allow patients to be treated at home rather than have to come into hospital for several days. I actually had no idea how big an impact they would have, until I had one patient who had booked in to see a psychologist and arranged to take anti-depressants because the hospital experience can be so intense. We administered his chemotherapy using the CADD pump and treated him as an outpatient. He told me his experience was vastly improved and didn’t require any of his psychology interventions anymore.”

Patient Entertainment System for Cairns Hospital

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation is helping Cairns Hospital purchase 6 interactive patient entertainment and technology platform for use by cancer patients. Funding was made possible through supporters who nominated FNQHF as their preferred beneficiary, as well as through a grant from the Dry July Foundation.

The systems consist of a TV and a tablet that enables patients to keep in touch with their friends and do work or personal interest activities. Each system integrates with the hospital system and allows patients to work interactively to plot treatment goals with their doctors.

The system is essentially aimed at improving the patient experience by reducing patient isolation, acting as a patient portal for communication and information, and keeping patients connected with their outside worlds.

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