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.

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane

$46,116.06 raised