PUTTING THE “N” IN C.O.N.
Interior Health Community Oncology Network Clinic Engagement ProjecT (IH CON-CEPT)
Cancer care is evolving. Traditional chemotherapy is increasingly being replaced by agents that do not have the same episodic side-effect profile of traditional chemotherapy, and are often given on an ongoing basis, sometimes for years. Patients receiving them require regular follow-up to ensure compliance and monitor for side-effects. Treatments are more effective, so patients are living longer, increasing the prevalence of cancer. Cancer Incidence continues to increase as well, and all of this means our clinics are seeing more patients, on more complex treatments, for longer.
The steady introduction of new treatments requires ongoing educational updates and training for all staff. This is placing a strain on all clinics, especially the community based ones which often have few staff members. The quality of care provided in our Interior Health centres is excellent, but we would like to take a pro-active approach to dealing with the new realities of oncology practice in the community. Publications and conferences now tend to deal with how large clinics are developing teams to manage phone follow-up, patient counselling, and continuing staff education. How to accomplish this in small community centres spread out geographically is not a topic of discussion so we hope to start that here.
We would like to invite you to a two day meeting bringing together representatives from Medical, Nursing, Pharmacy and Clerical staff from each of the C.O.N. centres in Interior Health. The goals of this conference will be to allow staff from the different clinics to meet each other, discuss how each clinic is staffed, discuss issues in patient and staff education, patient follow-up, and CQI each clinic faces, and share strategies each has developed to address the issues. There will be informational symposiums at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there will be a session on First Nations health. By the end, we plan to identify the major common areas of concern, and a set of short and long term goals to address those areas. Ultimately, we plan on creating a central hub for information sharing and education to benefit all clinics. We feel that a unified voice will enable the IH C.O.N. clinics to better advocate for resourcing to IH and BC Cancer, with a goal of improving quality of care for patients across the continuum of cancer treatment. BC Cancer is in the process of setting up a Regional C.O.N. working group as well, so this should work well to mesh with them.
Travel, accommodations and food will be covered for attendees. We hope to see nursing, management, pharmacy, clerical and medical staff from each clinic.
Thank you, and we look forward to a productive meeting!
The IH-CON-CEPT planning committee:
Carolynn Russell, RN, CNC(P), BSN
Manager, Cancer Centre VJH, Vernon BC
Kimberley Bodnar, RN BSN
Patient Care Coordinator, Vernon BC
Dr. Edward Hardy, MD FRCPC
Medical Oncologist, VJH, Vernon BC