Wollongong Hospital

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Wollongong Hospital is home to both the Illawarra Cancer Care Centre and Oncology/Haematology Inpatient Ward.

Our teams provide treatment and support services to patients residing in the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama regions.

Every year our Illawarra and Shoalhaven teams collectively treat over 65,000 patients.

Latest Updates

Check out how Dry July funds are supporting the patients of Wollongong Hospital!

Through Dry July funds, Illawarra Cancer Care Centre has purchased equipment upgrades and comfort and support items. 

Patient Weigh Chair:

Sometimes attempting to stand on scales is challenging for our patients, they aren’t strong enough, have poor mobility or have difficulty balancing. Our staff in Haematology Oncology Day Care flagged how much the addition of a patient weigh chair would assist patients and improve both staff and patient safety. The chair allows our patients to be accurately weighed (an important step in their treatment regime) without anxiety or stress in having to stand and balance on ordinary scales.

RT Artwork:

How relaxing does this artwork make you feel? Custom made for our space, this beautiful piece portrays the beauty of our local area. It has been hung in the Radiation Therapy treatment area, creating a sense of calm as our patients approach the treatment space, which can often be a highly anxious experience. The Dry July Foundation committed to approving this funding application with this support our overall vision of making our spaces ‘less clinical’ for patients continues. 

Fill that bladder:

Drinking the correct amount of water, within the correct amount of time, prior to important scans and treatments is a task anyone finds difficult. Magnets designed by our team, paired with drink bottles are great tools to assist our patients with this task. Thanks to the Dry July Foundation our Radiation Therapy patients get to take home a magnet and drink bottle which assists in adequately preparing them and reminding them about what needs to be done before their appointment.

Thank you, Dry July Foundation and Dry Julyers for supporting the patients of Illawarra Cancer Care Centre! 

Dry Julyers help fund Lymphscanners for Wollongong Hospital

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition for which there is no cure and for which there are no pharmacological treatment agents available. Once established lymphoedema often negatively affects a person’s quality of life, physical function, body image and puts them at high risk of developing serious medical issues such as cellulitis infections.

Breast Lymphoedema is becoming an issue for cancer survivors. It has been found that 24.8% of patients undergoing breast conserving surgery and radiation develop breast edema in the first 18 months post breast cancer diagnosis. Research also finds that breast edema is correlated with breast pain, reduced quality of life, reduced physical function, poor body image and can impact negatively on sexuality.

Head and Neck Lymphoedema (both internal and external) post cancer treatment can affect 35-50% of survivors. Head and neck lymphoedema has a serious impact on quality of life due to its impact on swallowing and the changes to a person’s appearance. Swallowing difficulties can lead to weight loss, facial disfigurement, reduced neck ROM and changes in vocal quality.

The Dry July Foundation funded purchase of 2 lymphscanners (1 located at Wollongong Hospital the other at Shoalhaven Hospital) has provided our therapists with an objective way to measure tissue fluid levels in soft tissue areas throughout the body. This has been particularly important for head/neck and breast lymphoedema in which assessment was previously reliant solely on the therapist’s palpation skills and the person’s subjective symptoms. The purchase of the scanners has also enabled:

A standardized approach between therapists to objectively measure breast and head/neck lymphoedema.

Guides the therapist’s manual lymphatic drainage techniques.

Improved quality of life with improved management of lymphoedema with earlier detection in soft tissue regions.

Identifies areas of fluid congestion which is particularly helpful in the limbs.

Improved early identification of lymphoedema following breast Ca treatment for people with bilateral development risk.

So a big thank you to Dry July Foundation from the ISLHD Lymphoedema Physiotherapists (and from all our clients!)

2022 Dry July funds Music in the Bunkers at Wollongong Hospital

Dry July just keeps on giving! When we introduced Music in the Bunkers to our patients in 2017 we didn’t realise the impact it would have. Five years on patients continue to experience this form of music therapy while they undergo their radiation treatment.

Dry July initially funded the ipads and speakers allowing patients to select music they wished to listen to, so they felt in control, allowing them to remain calm and simply enjoy music at what can be a very stressful time.

Every year since 2017 Dry July has funded the annual subscription to our premium music provider. It’s a small cost but it continues to make a massive difference to patients and we will keep this going with the help of Dry July funding as it is such a worthwhile project.

Thank you Dry July! 

Updated Equipment thanks to 2022 Dry July funds

With existing patient observations machines (used to take blood pressure, temperature etc) on the ward at end of life, our nurses reached out expressing a need to urgently replace three.

Dry July saved us!

Thanks to Dry July we now have three new machines rolling around the ward delivering patient data to us more efficiently and inevitably providing a much more comfortable service to patients with such speedy results.

In addition to this new equipment, Dry July has also funded 10 new durable, waterproof, round edged, height adjustable over bed tables for patients.

Thank you Dry July for providing funding for us to purchase this equipment to benefit patients on C7W Ward Wollongong Hospital!  

Wollongong Hospital launch their Living Fully with the Cancer Experience sessions virtually

With face to face sessions cancelled due to the pandemic, our Clinical Psychology team worked to reinvent our Living Fully with the Cancer Experience sessions, designed for patients who have completed their treatment. We were so excited to launch our six week pilot program, virtually, in October 2021!

Classes were capped at eight participants to ensure an intimate experience. Psychologists Susan and Donna described the sessions as ‘therapeutic, rather than supportive in style, covering a range of themes to help reduce stress, facilitate coping, and encourage participants to engage more fully in their life despite uncertainty and distress”

To truly immerse themselves in the sessions, each participant received a carefully curated Dry July funded self-care pack delivered to their home. The pack included a yoga mat, journal and pen, massage ball set, high end tea set, organic hand cream and lip balm and a sensory glitter liquid timer tube.

One patient described receiving the pack, ‘I felt good unpacking it. Like someone cared and was thinking about thoughtful things to make me happy. I love the journal. I think it is a good idea to get thoughts, feelings and ideas down in. I wouldn’t change a thing. I think everything was very carefully handpicked.’

The sessions are a great example of cancer services staff persisting in difficult times to meet the needs of patients. With the support of Dry July, the program will run multiple times again in 2022 and has expanded to include a one day early diagnosis workshop, focused on education, validation and normalisation and how the nervous system reacts to crisis and trauma and how to work with it.

Knowing this was a Dry July funded initiative, we asked patients if they are likely to participate or donate to the Dry July campaign in 2022. We were so very pleased with this response, which we found heart-warming ‘I did it this year! I raised over $1000 for Wollongong Hospital/Illawarra Cancer Care Centre and I intend to again this year!’

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