Allied health professionals2018-01-22T01:56:52+10:00

Allied Health Professionals

Allied Health is a term used to describe the broad range of health professionals who are not doctors or nurses. As part of your cancer journey you may see one or more of our Allied Health professionals.

Nutrition and Dietetics

A dietician will help guide you with the best food choices to help manage any side effects you experience, with the goal of helping you maintain your weight during treatment.

Unplanned weight loss can result in fatigue and lack of strength and energy. It can also impact on accuracy of your planned treatment.

Patients identified as high nutritional risk due to certain tumour types and treatment plans are automatically referred to us. For all other patients please discuss any concerns with your diet or weight with your Nurse or Cancer Care Coordinator who can organise a referral if required.

Resources

Occupational Therapy

Cancer treatment may impact your ability to manage everyday tasks at home and work either physically or mentally.

Occupational therapists are available to help patients to participate in everyday tasks by providing strategies for management of cancer related fatigue, sleep concerns, memory difficulties and a range of other factors which may limit participation in everyday tasks. Occupational therapists are also able to assist in the management of cancer related lymphoedema.

Patients can be referred to the occupational therapy service by their oncologist or cancer care coordinator.

If you are having difficulties managing your day to day activities, please ask any member of your treating team to send a referral through to the Occupational Therapy Department.

Resources

Pharmacy

Pharmacy provides high quality and efficient clinical pharmacy, chemotherapy and prescription services to Cancer Care patients across Metro North.

The Cancer Care Pharmacy comprises of a dedicated team of highly trained Cancer Care pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who specialise in providing expert clinical care, advice, education, chemotherapy compounding, consultation and dispensary services for inpatients and outpatients.

Pharmacists work with you and members of your treating team to make sure the medicines prescribed are the best and safest treatment options for you.

As everyone’s chemotherapy dose and treatment is different the Metro North Cancer Care Pharmacies specialise in providing chemotherapy specifically tailored to your requirements.

Pharmacists are always available to discuss medicines with you and to provide advice about the best way to take your medicines. Ask pharmacy staff any questions you may have about your prescription or complementary medicines or ask to make an appointment to see pharmacist.

Outpatient Pharmacy Services

The Metro North Cancer Care dispensaries and the aseptic compounding unit at the RBWH prepare and dispense chemotherapy and all cancer related medicines for Cancer Care outpatients.

At the commencement of your treatment and whenever is required a clinical pharmacist will arrange to meet with you to discuss your medicines, your medication history and answer any questions you may have.

Inpatient Pharmacy Services

If being admitted for an overnight stay, the inpatient clinical pharmacist will meet with you to talk about your usual medicines, any medicine allergies, or previous problems with medicines. The pharmacist will regularly check your medications and work with your treating team to ensure your medicines are safe to use in combination. Before you go home, the pharmacist will make sure you have all the medicines you need, a medication list and that you understand how to take them. The inpatient pharmacists work alongside medical practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals to optimise your care.

  • Remember to bring your prescriptions, medication list and any medicines that you purchase over the counter at your local pharmacy or supermarket and any supplements or natural medicines you take when you first attend for treatment or for an appointment with the pharmacist.
  • Ask your doctor if you can have blood tests performed the day before your treatment.
  • Some medicines like chemotherapy or targeted therapies are best supplied by the experienced cancer pharmacists; however your usual medications can be taken to your local pharmacy. This reduces waiting times for all our patients and helps to reduce adverse events related to cancer medicines. Ask us whether your medication could be dispensed by your community pharmacy.
  • Leave your prescription with us while you attend other appointments or let us know if you can collect medications later in the day or the following day, or ask if we can SMS you when it is ready.
  • If we keep your prescription in the pharmacy call several days ahead and we can prepare it before you arrive (ask if you would like us to store the prescription on file).
  • Please bring your any concession, Veteran or Safety Net cards at each visit.

Why do I need to wait for my chemotherapy?

Pharmacy is conscious of the time you may need to wait for treatment, but as everyone’s chemotherapy dose is different, it takes time to prepare and check. Some of the steps in this process are discussed below.

Firstly a specially trained Cancer Care pharmacist reviews your prescription to make sure that the treatment is suitable, looks at your blood tests or other tests the doctor has ordered and that all the doses are correct for you.

Then pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who specialise in complex drug compounding at hospitals like the RBWH may prepare your chemotherapy in a clean room and laminar flow cabinet. This can take 10 to 45 minutes depending on the dose being prepared.

Once this is compete, your chemotherapy dose (in an IV bag, syringe or cassette) is labelled and double checked before being released to your nurse prior to administration.

Due to the large number of treatments we provide (up to 2000 doses per month at the RBWH) whenever possible we will prepare your chemotherapy the day before you arrive. This allows us to significantly reduce the time you must wait for treatment.

The pharmacy will supply the medications used during your inpatient (overnight) stay at no cost. Most discharge medications or outpatient (day patient) medications will cost the same as at your local pharmacy.

  • RBWH Cancer Care Pharmacy: (07) 3647 8810
  • North Lakes Cancer Care Pharmacy: (07) 3049 1424
  • Redcliffe Cancer Care Pharmacy: (07) 3883 7195
  • The Prince Charles Hospital Cancer Care Pharmacy: (07) 3139 5253
  • Kilcoy Pharmacy: (07) 5433 8639

Physiotherapy

Patients may develop problems with movement due to surgical or tumour position. Our physiotherapy team can help with painful, stiff joints, lymphedema, and difficulties with balance or walking.

If you want to speak with a physiotherapist, please ask any member of the cancer care team to send a referral through to the support services team.

Psychology

Managing mental and emotional wellbeing during cancer treatment is very important. We are here to find solutions to help you adjust to your cancer experience.

If you are experiencing ongoing distress please ask any member of the cancer care team to send a referral through to the support services team.

Social Work

A cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming and may impact many aspects of your life, not just your physical health. Social Workers are experienced and qualified professionals who can assist to enhance your social and emotional well-being.  With a focus on holistic care, we do this by:

  • Listening to you about the things that matter most to enable you to live a meaningful life
  • Providing information that will assist you to make decisions affecting your health and well-being.  This may include arranging family meetings with your doctor to discuss your treatment plan and any concerns you may have.
  • Understanding what is important to you about your care and supporting you to make choices that are right for you.  This entails conversations regarding advance care planning such as appointing an EPOA, AHD and Statement of Choices
  • Assisting you to access resources such relationship, parenting, carers, aged, disability, legal and financial supports
  • Co-ordinating referrals to community based support services to assist you and those who care for you to manage at home
  • Discussing with you about future care planning and assisting you to make decisions that reflect your values and personal preferences
  • Supporting those who may be approaching the end of their life and the people who care about them in their bereavement

Referral to social work

Social Workers are available Monday to Friday 8.00am–4.30pm.

Inpatient referral – you can self-refer by letting any member of your health care team know you would like to speak with a Social Worker. At the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) you need first to be allocated to a Cancer Care Consultant.

Outpatient referral – Social Work appointments are available to support Cancer Care patients at RBWH, The Prince Charles Hospital and Redcliffe Hospital.  Please let any member of your health care team know if you would like to speak with a Social Worker.

Resources

Speech Pathology

The side effects of treatment to head and neck cancers can impact significantly on your voice and ability to swallow. Our aim is to continue to have you eating and exercising your swallowing muscles throughout radiation treatment and have you enjoying eating as soon as possible.

All head and neck cancer patients have weekly appointments starting from the beginning of their treatment. If you wish to speak with a social worker, please ask any member of the cancer care team to send a referral through to the support services team.

Welfare Workers

The welfare team provide practical assistance and support across a broad spectrum of issues to patients and their carers receiving active treatment at Cancer Care Services.

Information relating to

  • Patient Travel and Accommodation Schemes which provide a subsidy for rural and remote patients needing treatment in Brisbane.
  • Income support information and applications, Centrelink, and where applicable organisations that provide financial assistance.
  • Parking/access information.
  • Community transport options.

Practical assistance

  • Please see your welfare worker as soon as possible for assistance with completing patient travel forms or if you require further guidance with the process.
  • By arranging short term accommodation for the duration of treatment.
  • Return travel arrangements for rural patients.
  • Information relating to wigs and breast prostheses.

Referral to

  • Social work.
  • Liaison with support/programs organisations.

Cancer Care staff are able to make a referral by phone or appointments can be made at Level 4 Reception

  • Location: Level 4, Joyce Tweddell Building
  • Email: Welfare-Cancer-Care@health.qld.gov.au
  • Phone:  Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (07) 3646 8111 and request a welfare worker, Cancer Care Services.