Count me in! GPH Cancer Wellness Program


The Cyril Gilbert Cancer Centre (CGCC) at Greenslopes Private Hospital aims to be a full service Centre of Excellence for the treatment and management of individuals with cancer. To complement the medical and clinical services provided at the CGCC, it has been identified that a holistic approach to understanding cancer treatment and survivorship would be of benefit to patients and their families.

As a private day oncology unit, there is currently no funding available to provide psychosocial and counselling services for the approximately 790 patients undergoing or finishing treatment at the centre every month.  The top five cancers treated are colorectal, melanoma, breast, lung and cancers of the blood.

The team at The Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation have worked closely with the staff at CGCC for a number of years giving patients access to clinical trials for new cancer therapies (read more here about our clinical trials).  Whilst recognising the need for a cancer wellness program, the team at the CGCC did not have the capacity or budget to develop and deliver such a program and approached GMRF for help.

With seed funding from three of our donors, GMRF is proud to be supporting the team at CGCC to develop the GPH Cancer Wellness Program which will take a tailored approach to patient needs assessment and follow-up to ensure the very best patient centred care is delivered, during and after cancer treatment.

Because my wife received such wonderful care at the Cyril Gilbert Centre… Count me in!

When you’re facing a battle with cancer, the little acts of support and kindness can go a long way. It’s something that GMRF Discovery Partner, Blair Smith, experienced firsthand at the Cyril Gilbert Cancer Centre. In 2011, his wife, Joy, spent a great deal of time receiving treatment at the centre. Sadly, she passed away that year, but Blair has never forgotten the tremendous care they received from staff. Catering staff would ensure they were both well fed; volunteers and nurses constantly went the extra mile to ensure the pair were comfortable, and even the cleaning staff offered their condolences to Blair at Joy’s passing.  ‘Greenslopes Private Hospital treats you like a person, not a number,’ Blair says.

To honour his wife’s memory, and as a thank you to the staff at the Cyril Gilbert Cancer Centre, Blair has counted himself in for the GPH Cancer Wellness Program. He and his daughter, Joanne, provided a significant portion of the seed funding for the program. Thanks to their generosity the program has gone from an idea to a reality, which will mean an even greater level of care for other families battling cancer. Donate here and be counted in for cancer care

Helping to ensure the very best patient-centred care during, and after cancer treatment...

Wellness Program - Extra support

Cancer affects the whole family
... Count us in

GPH Cancer Wellness Program

There is significant data showing the importance of extra health support to patients with cancer. At CGCC it is evident in day to day practice that patients would greatly benefit from easy “in-house” access to supportive care and allied health services. Day patients need the same support as inpatients and that includes access to expert advice from a Social Worker, Dietician and Psychologist as required. Expertise in this area also provides support to the nursing team by allowing them to refer those patients who need help with a wide range of practical, emotional and physical concerns.

Because we care about our patients… Count me in!

Jo, one of the nurses at the Cyril Gilbert Cancer Centre (CGCC), recently took the time to tell us a bit about herself and what the Wellness Program will mean for her patients.

How long have you worked here, Jo?

I have worked at GPH for over 15 years and have been here at the CGCC for seven, which had just opened when I started.
Oncology is my specialty area. It is special because I had a new patient today who was so surprised at how positive everyone was, she couldn’t believe that everyone was being treated for cancer. People have bad days but the feeling here is not one of sadness.

Why do you love working here?

I love it because I really enjoy the patient contact. It is quite an intimate contact we have with our patients because they are all very physically close to us here so everywhere you go you get to see all the patients, even the ones that you are not looking after.

We get to know our patients over a long period time as many patients have on-going treatment that goes for years. In other areas of nursing you don’t have that long term relationship. Even short term treatment here is six to nine months. The patients bring their family members with them so we see families grow up here which is amazing and wonderful.

Why is the Cancer Wellness Program important?

It allows us to reach out to patients and provide an extended service which is important because cancer affects the whole family. Family members support the patients when we are not there which can be large periods of time. The Wellness Program will give patients and their families what they need when they finish treatment and in-between treatment when they are on their own. If we can provide this extra care it can prevent issues down the track. Empowering people to take action is important, so providing education, information and services around prevention of potential issues allows for a much better long term outcome.

Why should people support this program?

Because those extra services are important for overall wellbeing, long term care, family care, prevention of side-effects and best quality of life possible, not just surviving treatment.

GPH Cancer Wellness Program - Education

In addition to providing one on one expert advice to patients as required, the Wellness Program will offer information seminars on various topics including diet, exercise, meditation, mindfullness at no cost to patients. This will clearly complement the treatment education sessions currently on offer.

As part of the treatment information provided to patients starting treatment the CGCC staff provide patients with a “patient diary” to take home. This diary outlines general chemotherapy and side effect management.  In recent years we have seen an increase in the use of immune therapy and other novel treatments and have identified a need for an updated and more appropriate information booklet for these patients. Expanded and updated patient information booklets, including immune therapy, stem cell transplants and care of central line devices at home will be a key part of the Wellness Program.

GPH Cancer Wellness Program - Survivorship

The mortality rates for many cancers have changed in recent years and patients are now living longer with cancer. As a result, we believe that patients will benefit from more psychosocial support post completion of their treatments in the form of a survivorship and wellness program.

Whilst there are community resources available to our patients, such as Leukemia Foundation and Queensland Cancer Council, we find that our patients are more inclined to rely on the nursing staff for support and information. During their time with us at the clinic they develop a strong rapport with our team and trust the clinic staff to provide accurate and timely advice.  This support will be formalized through the Wellness Program, importantly providing personalised advice to the patients on the completion of their treatment. The funds donated to the Count me In campaign will allow us to do this in an efficient and effective manner. Click here to donate today.

Feedback from family of a patient who attended for treatment:

“You were all angels in his eyes and mine. It’s like you were all handpicked to do such amazing work with enormous hearts and beautiful souls. We will treasure you all as you really have touched our hearts and made dads stay so much easier. We always felt like we were doing the red carpet walk when we came in.”

GPH Cancer Wellness Program - Touching Base

In addition to the support services and educational programs and of equal importance is the ability to undertake follow up phone calls to all our patients on completing treatment. The follow up phone calls 6 weeks after the end of treatment will give our nurses the opportunity to personally check-in and identify any issues patients may be having, reinforce self- management strategies, coping mechanisms and reminding them of applicable resources available in the community.

Another key part of the Wellness Program, this phone follow-up service will add another dimension of care that we can offer to cancer patients at Greenslopes.

GPH Cancer Wellness Program - Evaluation of Outcomes

The CGCC will work with the research teams at the GMRF to identify ways to most appropriately evaluate the effectiveness of the Wellness Program. Consideration will be given to capturing clinical outcomes, measuring quality of life improvements and other key metrics.

Because cancer steals lives… Count me in!

Robert Kemp passed away in February this year after a brave battle with Lymphoma. His wife, Peta chose to honour his memory by making a $5,000 donation to GMRF so that his name could be added to the Cyril Gilbert Testimonial Board, proudly displayed outside the cancer centre at GPH. Peta visited our labs and talked to the researchers so she could see the impact she’s making in the fight against the disease that took her husband from her much too soon.

Peta has joined our Count Me In campaign in support of the GPH Cancer Wellness Program because cancer continues to steal the lives of people who should have many more years ahead of them.

Just recently, Peta and her son Bruce made an additional donation to the Cyril Gilbert Testimonial Fund so that their names can be next to Rob’s – a very touching tribute!

You can donate in memory of a loved one who received treatment at the Cyril Gilbert Cancer Centre so their name is remembered amongst those who helped progress cancer research. Call us on 07 3394 7284 to find out more.