The Alfred, Melbourne

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Patients are the reason we are here –they are the focus of what we do. We are proudly a public health service, available to all. Join us this Dry July and help The Alfred continue to support people affected by cancer. Each year, The Alfred treats thousands of people living with cancer. Alfred Health’s cancer service includes 28 inpatient beds, 18 day procedure units, and a large radiotherapy and chemotherapy centre solely dedicated to treating adult cancer patients. The Alfred’s cancer services allow for close clinical coordination with a range of cancer specialists, including surgeons, medical oncologists, haematologists, and nursing and allied health specialists. Community support is a fundamental part of The Alfred’s history and its future. Through Dry July, you have helped deliver a real and tangible impact on the lives of those dealing with a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. As a Dry July campaigner your actions have made a considerable difference to the lives of our patients, their carers and loved ones. The list of improvements and innovations made possible by your generosity and restraint is long and for that we are so very grateful. Programs funded through Dry July include a music therapy program for patients and loved ones, helping them explore and express difficult emotions. It has also seen the implementation of a patient accommodation program, increasing access to care for our regional and rural patients, giving them a home away from home. With your support we hope to be able to continue to fund these amazing programs as well as make some wonderful new improvements to the Dry July garden.

Latest Updates

Update - Young adults with cancer area now open

Unfortunately, cancer diagnosis for the young adult population has increased over the years. Here at The Alfred we identified a need to further support this unique patient group.

With an average length of stay at any one time for these admissions to be 35 days, a cancer diagnosis and a prolonged and intensive confinement to hospital can take an immense toll on a young adults life. 

The team on 7East made a commitment to make a positive impact and improvement on not only patients physical outcomes but also their psychosocial ones, during and post treatment for the young adult cohort. This involves specifically trained staff, which have nursing and social work backgrounds and will roll out education tools to assist staff.  

Thanks to a grant from the Dry July Foundation, we now an area specifically designed for the young adult patients and their families. By providing them with a dedicated space we hope to ease the anxiety experienced by our patients and improve their stay in hospital.  

Social worker, Brigitte Mahoney, says, 'The tailor made space came from a realisation that the adolescent and young adult population (AYA) have unique and complex psychosocial needs and provide them with a comfortable environment, in an adult hospital. The planning of the room has taken years of consideration with numerous disciplines and professions contributing. The implementation of the AYA area is a first for The Alfred which I know will benefit our AYA population in the years to come.'

The Alfred, Melbourne receives a grant from the Dry July Foundation

We're proud to announce that The Alfred, Melbourne has received a grant from the Dry July Foundation 2018 Grant Program.

The grant will go towards the following: 

• Patient accommodation for rural and regional patients, providing with ‘hotel style’ accommodation close to the hospital

Dry July is music to the ears at The Alfred!

Music therapy is highly-regarded by medical professionals as a safe way to support people living with life-threatening illness, by providing comfort and relief, and allowing people to explore and express difficult emotions.

And now thanks to the generosity of our Dry July supporters, The Alfred has introduced a special music therapy program for its palliative care patients.

Lucy Forrest is a registered music therapist, researcher and clinical supervisor, and her role with The Alfred’s oncology and palliative care department is completely funded by this amazing community support. Having been involved in oncology and palliative care for more than 20 years, she knows full-well how important music can be to aid someone’s care.

“Music can help in a number of different ways,” she says. “It can provide symptom support when someone has anxiety or pain, is breathless or isn’t sleeping: I can use music to calm and relax, settle and distract them, helping to reduce anxiety and distress.

“Then there is creative music therapy, which is about helping people live fully until the end. They may want to engage in life review, learn to play an instrument, or create a legacy, such as writing a song to leave for a child, a grandchild, or their partner.

“It may also be about just using music to take them out of the space that they are in, so they are not focused solely on their illness. Music can transport people to other times and places, through memories and stories, helping them to re-engage with their well self, and providing opportunities for sharing and support between family members.”

Lucy’s message to those who helped fund her program is one of heartfelt gratitude.

“Thank you! Being able to bring music into people’s lives during difficult times is so important, especially for our palliative care patients and their families,” she says. “Research shows that music can positively impact physiological responses, transform people’s experiences of palliative care, and bring comfort and support. That’s why I love this work, and the opportunity to develop a new program in an amazing place like The Alfred is very exciting.”

The Alfred is committed to providing best practice care which includes the benefits of allied therapies to improve health and well-being but none of this would be possible without your support. A big thank you to everyone who participated in, or supported others, as part of Dry July 2018. Thanks to your generosity and dedication, so many patients, loved ones and carers will benefit from this wonderful program.

Dry July 2018 - Thank you from 'The Alfred'

Another Dry July over and another remarkable year for The Alfred. Congratulations to everyone who completed their own Dry July challenge, Golden Tickets notwithstanding, and thank you to everyone who sponsored someone, your support is also greatly appreciated.

Each year, we continue to be warmed by the wonderful contribution the community has bestowed upon The Alfred, helping to improve the lives of those dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. You all play a very real role in helping ease the stresses and strains on our patients and for that we cannot thank you enough.

The Alfred looks after many thousands of people living with cancer every year, and we see first-hand the difficult fight that patients and their families face. The changes made possible by Dry July funding have helped to make our patient’s journeys a little brighter and make that battle a little easier. You should be so very proud of the contribution you make in helping to bring about those improvements and provide comfort to those facing a difficult time in their lives.

On behalf of the staff and patients at The Alfred, thank you for your dry efforts, you are amazing!

Bronwen and Lisa (Alfred Health Radiation Oncology reception team and Alfred DJs)

Alana’s story

"You have cancer in your left breast and will need to have a mastectomy in the next couple of weeks".  

This is something that I never expected to hear. I was 27 years old, didn't have a family history of breast cancer and was heavily pregnant. I felt as though this moment was happening in slow motion. “Cancer? Really?” I looked to my right and saw the tears stream down my husband’s face. Yes, this was happening. This was real.

It was the start of 2017 - I was about 12 week’s pregnant, and noticed a large lump, approximately 6 centimetres in diameter in my left breast. It appeared out of nowhere.

I went to my doctor and she thought it was hormonal. She said to come back in a few weeks; if it changed, an ultrasound would be organised to see what was going on. Nothing changed and I somewhat forgot about it. It wasn't causing me pain, there was no redness – it was nothing that caused concern.

A few months later I was getting closer to being in my third trimester of pregnancy, so I thought it was a good idea to get the lump re-checked, just to ensure it didn't cause issues with breast feeding.

I had the ultrasound which showed some abnormalities, so an urgent appointment was organised with the surgeon. He seemed quite concerned and sent me to the hospital to have a mammogram and biopsies taken. A week later, I received my diagnosis.

From that day, I promised myself that I would make this experience as positive as possible. I would not let this get me. It’s either ‘it’ or me, and I wasn’t going to let ‘it’ win. I have two beautiful girls to live for and a husband that can’t cook ha ha!

It has been a long process; almost a year since my diagnosis and a lot has changed. After giving birth to my second daughter, a single mastectomy, 16 rounds of Chemo, 28 cycles of radiotherapy, seven months into my year long, three weekly treatment of Herceptin, multiple hospital visits, and a lovely visit to ICU for sepsis, I am still standing.

I am due to have further surgery this coming October to have an elective mastectomy on my right breast and complete reconstruction during this procedure. I am totally exhausted, but also grateful. As I recover I continue to plan my future with my husband and children.

Although I look forward to the end of this ordeal, I have met some absolutely amazing people along the way. The Alfred staff have become more like friends, and I truly thank them for keeping me alive. Which is why I am so pleased to be able to support them this Dry July and give something back to the organisation that helped me.

Alana Hall

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