Icon’s Cancer Survivorship Program wins Australian Private Hospitals Association Award

Icon Writers / 18 Apr, 2024

An Icon Cancer Centre program providing end of treatment patient support and guidance has won a coveted national industry award.

The Icon Cancer Survivorship Program has been named the Consumer Partnership and Engagement winner at the 2024 Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) Awards for Excellence.

The pilot program, led by Icon Specialist Nurses, focusses on wellbeing and care beyond cancer treatment, supporting patients to manage the physical, emotional, practical and social challenges they face following the end of active treatment.

Icon Group Director of Nursing, Margie Hjorth, said the program highlights the importance of holistic care post treatment.

“Advances in early diagnosis and treatment mean that more people than ever before are surviving and living with cancer,” said Margie.

“The program’s focus on wellbeing and comprehensive care beyond physical treatment demonstrates our deep commitment to our mission of providing the best possible care to our patients throughout their cancer journey.”

The impact of the program is best summed up in our patients’ own words:

“It is great to have this follow up service. During treatment things can be a bit of a blur. This gives a clear picture of the treatment and also a plan to move forward with- thank you.”

“Appreciate having someone to talk to who is dealing with our lifestyle choices, balancing out strict medical regime. We want to live but have to find a way to enjoy life again as well.”

“The survivorship program reassured me about the choices I was already making and is a great reminder about the importance of seeking support. Taia (the cancer care coordinator) has always been there for me by answering any queries or concerns, no matter how small they are.”

APHA CEO Michael Roff, who presented the award to the Icon Cancer Survivorship Program team at a recent gala dinner on the Gold Coast, said the program was another example of private hospital partners creating innovative programs for patients.

“The APHA Awards for Excellence aim to use peer examples to inspire the sector and to highlight the wonderful work our hospital partners do for patients,” said Mr Roff.

“Every year we see great programs emerging where teams have identified a particular community need and carefully developed a program to meet it – this is another one.

“This service has not only identified a gap in cancer care and sought to fill it, but it has also done so in partnership with patients and the whole health care team.

“It is a great example for others in cancer care to follow and could be rolled out nationally.”

About the pilot program

The pilot program ran over 12 months from February 2023 to February 2024 across Icon’s cancer centres in Warrnambool, Concord, Southport, Maroochydore and the Gold Coast. The program saw cancer care coordinators provide participants with:

  • Tailored survivorship consultations.
  • Wellness care plans.
  • Informative brochures.
  • Referrals to allied health programs.
  • Access to the Cancer Council Wellness Program.

The development of the pilot program

A dedicated committee, consisting of nurse leaders, cancer care coordinators, a survivorship nurse, site managers, business development and planning and implementation experts, led the pilot’s development and wove in best practices, previous experiences and literature in the care model.

They focused on making the program survivor-centred, integrated, coordinated, accessible, and focused on promoting wellbeing, preventing illness and managing symptoms.

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