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

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!’

Thanks to your Dry July fundraising, Wollongong Hospital can help increase the comfort and wellbeing of people affected by cancer

We are extremely grateful and very keen to share with you the 11 initiatives we can now deliver for our patients.

Our ‘While You’re Here’ theme focuses on increasing comfort and wellbeing to reduce patient anxiety during treatment and we will direct funds to;

1. Introduce Pet Therapy in the Centre and the Ward (pending approval/restrictions)

2. Investigate designing and creating specialised Porta Cath accessible t-shirts

3. Purchase a blanket warmer for our Oncology/Haematology Ward

4. Purchase a patient weigh chair for our Centre

5. Supply High End Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate for patients and family/carers

6. Re-subscribe to continue personalised music selections during each radiation therapy treatment

7. Improve patient Wi-Fi in the Centre with an upgrade

8. Supply Mindfulness Activity books

9. Supply drink bottles and magnets to patients as a reminder to ‘Fill that Bladder’

Our ‘Reinvigorate our Space’ theme focuses on creating a relaxing, calm and ‘less-clinical’ environment (just like our patients asked!) and we will direct funds to;

1. Purchase artwork for the Radiation Therapy area in the Centre

2. Provide artificial flower arrangements throughout the Centre

On behalf of all the staff and patients at Wollongong Hospital/Illawarra Cancer Care Centre thank you for your commitment and effort in making a positive difference in the lives of people living with cancer.