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Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane

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Thanks to the success of Dry July in 2019, PA Research Foundation was able to provide funding to establish the PA Hospital based Queensland Cancer Wellness Initiative.

The Queensland Cancer Wellness Initiative (QCWI) is a range of services in Queensland where people living with cancer and its ongoing impact are nurtured and empowered to access evidence-based support at a time and place that works for individual needs.

In 2020 our aim is to expand QCWI programs so that as many patients as possible can benefit and experience improved health outcomes.

These programs are a retreat for all people with cancer and their families at the PA Hospital and currently includes access to activities such as:
• cooking classes
• physiotherapy & exercise wellness
• massage & yoga
• Lymphoedema treatment and support
• leisure activities such as gaming consoles and movies which help take patients mind off the stress of cancer treatment
• pet therapy
• nutrition and dietary support
• programs to counteract cancer related fatigue
• social and emotional support

All of the programs offered through the wellness initiative greatly improve patient experiences at the PA Hospital and help those diagnosed with cancer to live as well as possible post diagnosis.

The QCWI is just one of many cancer patient care initiatives supported by Dry July and PA Research Foundation at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Sign up and select Princess Alexandra Hospital as your beneficiary to help us top last year’s incredible $46,000 fundraising effort so we can continue to support the growth of cancer patient care programs at the PA.

Latest Updates

Nguyen 'Thai' Dang's Story

The care shown to Nguyen Thai Dang since he first came to the oncology ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital in 2018 for chemotherapy to treat leukemia, ended in him nicknaming the PA ‘The Hilton of Hospitals’ and becoming not only a survivor but a champion of the hospital and its staff.

Thai, as he is known to his friends, checked into the PA’s Oncology ward at the request of haematologists on October 22, due to his white blood cell count sliding downward for a matter of months.

“There was a trial treatment organized by PA Hospital and Norvatis Pharmaceutical that would allow me to have a path to treatment that would be less of a burden to Australian taxpayers. Looking at the results of my last blood test, I decided to get on the trial. It was a win-win for both: I would get the treatment and the medical science team could get new weapons to fight the Leukemia disease,” Thai says.

Thai spent around 6 weeks, in the PA including stints in both Oncology, ICU and Ward 3C and multiple trips to the X-Ray and CT Scanning departments. Reflecting on his treatment journey he has nothing but praise for all who helped him beat the disease, including the range of services that were on offer to help support patients.

“I was so impressed with the hospital and its staff, the service and care from doctors and nurses are first class,” he says.

Thai, who still visits the PA once a year to see his liver specialist Dr Powell, went on to become a valued fundraiser for the hospital such is his gratitude towards the level of care, has a simple message for anyone thinking of donating to the hospital through Dry July or other initiatives.

“Take a tour and visit some patients (could be their friends or relatives). A talk to doctors will also be encouraged. Once they see the “good fruits” they will embrace the “good trees”,” he says.

Funds raised through Dry July will help expand Cancer Wellness Initiative, where patients receiving treatment for cancer like Thai are enabled, nurtured and empowered to access evidence-based support at a time and place that works for individual needs to enrich their life outside of treatment.

For more information on the Wellness Initiative see: https://www.qldcancerwellness.org/


Kind Hands Massage Program

One of the many programs made possible through 2019 Dry July funding at the PA Hospital is the Kind Hands Massage Program.

As a result of an outpatient survey prepared by the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s (PAH) Cancer Services Division in 2018 examining what wellness meant for patients attending cancer services, and what could be done to improve their wellbeing, relaxation and massage were recurrent.

Subsequently, the Cancer Wellness Initiative group began working with PAH Volunteer Services to establish the Kind Hands Massage program in 2019. A select team of volunteers now offers gentle hand or foot massages to patients on Ward 2E and in Day Care Oncology on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the morning and afternoon.

Feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive with an increase in their mood and comments such as “I feel like I’m in a spa”, and “it’s a nice relaxing way to take your mind off things for a little while”.

Our vision for this service is like all our wellness programs it continues to grow and develop, and we will be able to offer a wider group of patients the opportunity to access hand or foot massage five days a week.

For more information on the Kind Hands Massage Program and other wellness initiatives head to https://www.qldcancerwellness.org/


PA Hospital launches the next stage to their cancer wellness initiative… an online portal!

With the growing uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, innovative ways of providing support for those affected by cancer is paramount.

Thanks to the PA Research Foundation’s 2019 Dry July campaign which raised over $46,000, the timely development of a new online portal has been made possible. As a part of the Queensland Cancer Wellness Initiative (QCWI), the online portal offers a range of resources, activities, and information specifically designed for patients to access to support throughout their treatment journey. QCWI is the first program of its kind in Queensland to provide a model of cancer care based on a wellness framework which addresses all the components of self – mind, body and spirit.

Jodie Nixon, the team leader of QCWI emphasises the importance of such individual based supports, ”With so many people now living with cancer, there is a need to develop a model of care that looks after individual well-being in a holistic manner during and after cancer treatment.”


Princess Alexandra Hospital benefits from Dry July 2019 fundraising

Thanks to funds raised through Dry July 2019, the Princess Alexandra Hospital have been able to fund the following projects:

• Purchase of computers for patient computer hub, for patients to access latest information and keep connected whilst attending appointments

• Patient refreshment area

• Pet Therapy Program

• Kitchen Renovation and introduction of nutrition and cooking classes


Where Dry July Funding is making a difference - project update

Through the 2017 and 2018 Dry July campaigns, over $38,000 has been raised in support of improving cancer patients’ comfort, care and wellbeing while seeking treatment in cancer services at the PA Hospital.

A major project completed thanks to the 2017 funds raised was the delivery of more than 100 new ergonomic chairs to the oncology outpatients waiting area. With up to 1000 cancer patients passing through this waiting area each week (with some spending up to 6 hours sitting between chemotherapy and radiation treatments), the new chairs have made a huge difference to patients’ comfort and wellbeing during this difficult stage in their lives.

Division of Cancer Services Nurse Manager Sue Schoonbeek was very excited to see the new chairs arrive in 2018 and said that these are providing patients with much more comfort and safety whilst waiting for treatments.

"Some of the older chairs had become incredibly worn which presented a safety issue, placing our patients at risk in an already vulnerable time in their life.

"The new chairs installed are easier to maintain, and easier for patients to get in and out of, eliminating the risk of falling or getting an infection.

"Our patients selected the colours for the chairs; the whole process of providing comfort and care through Dry July is patient driven," said Sue.

Continuing the theme of redecoration, funds raised through Dry July have helped to set up a community library in the waiting area with a bookshelf purchased as well as countless books kindly donated through the PA Research Foundation book drive.

To complete a busy 12 months, the PA Hospital Cancer Services team set-up a private dressing room for breast cancer patients to choose a special care package to help make their treatment a less intimidating experience. The care package consists of a dressing gown more dignified than those already on offer, essential items such as writing utensils and a sling bag (kindly handmade and donated by PA Research Foundation supporters) that is soft and adjustable so that women during their treatment have a more comfortable alternative for their day-to-day necessities when they need it most.

One patient to benefit from the PA Hospital’s refurbished oncology outpatients waiting area and care package is Sandy Belcher. Sandy has recently completed treatment for her second battle with breast cancer, 45 years after her first diagnosis at the age of 27.

Sandy highlighted the significant changes in patient comfort and care since her first diagnosis.

“When I was 27, I just went through what I was told to go through, but then I got discharged and there was nothing, there was not even a leaflet, there was nothing for where to go or what to do.

“This time, it’s encouraging to see the great changes that have occurred in focusing on the patient’s comfort and care and making sure they are going okay.

“It’s not an easy road – that’s for sure, and nobody would choose to go down it, but at least if you have to go down it – the system and the support are there… I’ve been really gobsmacked to be honest,” said Sandy.

Sue and her team in Cancer Services at the PA Hospital are committed to ensuring that patients, like Sandy, receive those extra special items of comfort and care that to the outside world may seem small, but make an enormous difference to those going through such a difficult time in their lives. Funds raised through Dry July makes all of this possible – and your support makes an immeasurable difference to those facing cancer treatments at the PA Hospital.

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