RCN oncology urgent care program wins Prix de cancérologie from the Ministry of Health

The Rossy Cancer Network (RCN) is extremely proud to announce that the team for its oncology urgent care initiative was recently honoured with the 2019 Prix de cancérologie (Organisation des services) from the MSSS's Programme québécois de cancérologie at their annual conference held November 22, 2019 at the Omni Hotel in Montreal.

The project titled HOPE: Helping the Oncology Patient Experience through rapid symptom intervention was developed in collaboration with the RCN`s three partner hospitals -- the Jewish General Hospital (JGH), St. Mary's Hospital Centre and the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). This important project addresses the fact that recent literature demonstrates that for patients with cancer, the management of early symptoms improves quality of life, adherence to treatment and ultimately increases survival.

‘’A review of existing structures at the JGH found that 50% of cancer patients had symptoms severe enough to present to the emergency department within 30 days of treatment and that, of those, 40% were hospitalized,’’ explains Erin Cook, project lead, and clinical administrative coordinator for oncology at the JGH.

The project team created an early symptom management program to address this. The initiative includes a telephone triage line staffed by specially trained nurses using the recognized COSTaRs guidelines, as well as oncology urgent care clinics being developed at each site.

These measures allow patients to bypass the long waits and exposure to infection of a crowded emergency department (ED) and to receive reassurance and timely treatment of their symptoms, either at home or in a dedicated oncology-specific context.

“This is one of the RCN's most transformational projects,” says Dr. Wilson Miller, RCN Clinical Lead. “It allows cancer patients to have access to the urgent care they need in a setting that is better suited to their cancer-related problems. And this can be done much more efficiently than in our overcrowded ERs, thus relieving stress both from the ERs and from the inpatient the units.''

The early phase of the project at the JGH has already shown a 10% decrease in ED visits.

Congratulations to the team representing the RCN and exemplifying the ground-breaking, transformative work being done in the McGill-affiliated hospitals.

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