New patients to Day Oncology
Once you and your Oncologist/Haematologist have decided to start chemotherapy your doctor will write a referral to the Day Oncology Unit with the chemotherapy plan. A member of staff from the Day Oncology unit will phone you with a convenient time for you to attend a Pre-Chemotherapy Planning appointment. The Day Oncology Unit is located at Sunshine Hospital.
Pre-chemotherapy planning and Support
Before you start chemotherapy we strongly encourage you to attend a pre-chemotherapy planning and support appointment. At this appointment you will meet with a nurse who will give you information about your chemotherapy treatment plan. This will take approximately 1 hour. We know from experience that patients who are well informed about their treatment plan will often feel much less anxious and more in control of the treatment process. Please feel free to bring a family member or support person to the pre-chemotherapy planning session. You will receive a lot of information at this session. It is helpful to have someone else to listen and take notes. Interpreter services can be arranged for patients.
What should I bring to the pre-chemotherapy planning appointment?
A current list of medicines that includes:
Medicines bought at the pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop
Any recent test results that have been provided to you
Any questions that you have. It is a good idea to write these down before coming to your appointment.
At this appointment the nurse will work out the dates and times of each of your chemotherapy appointments. The nurse will provide you with information about the possible side effects you may have during your treatment and who you should contact if you are concerned.
Symptoms and side-effects following Chemotherapy Treatment
Everyone's experience is different when they go through chemotherapy treatment but it is not uncommon to have one or more of the following side-effects:
Please note that you may experience these side effects at any time during your treatment. For some patients, side effects occur following their first treatment whilst others may not experience symptoms until the very end. Some patients may not experience any side-effects at all.
What should I do if I have any side-effects?
If you are feeling unwell or uncomfortable in any way after your chemotherapy treatment and you are concerned or unsure about what to do, please call the Symptom Urgent Review Clinic (SURC) on 8395 9159.
When you call The SURC Nurse and inform her of your concerns she might then:
The SURC Nurse will also:
If you have any non-urgent concerns you can visit your GP.
If you don't feel well or have a temperature of 38 and above and SURC is closed then go directly to the Emergency Department or dial 000.
What is the Symptom Urgent Review Clinic (SURC)?
SURC is a specialist service located in the Day Oncology Unit dedicated to supporting patients at home who are suffering from side-effects after receiving chemotherapy treatment at Western Health. Patients (or their support person) can call and get advice/support from an experienced cancer nurse if they have any concerns or are feeling unwell. There is also an oncology doctor at hand.We can provide nursing support to patients in the Clinic itself. However, it is important to call us before attending the clinic as we can often help you manage and improve your symptoms in the comfort of your own home.
What are the SURC Opening Hours?
SURC is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm
Is there a cost for SURC services?
SURC support is a free service to all patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Western Health. However there may be charges associated with some medications prescribed by the Clinic
What additional support is available to me?
As you go through chemotherapy treatment it is not unusual to need support. At Western Health we have a number of support services available. We can help with a referral to community services if you need support within the community.
Oncology Hospital in the Home (HiTH)
Some chemotherapy treatments can be given in the home. Most chemotherapy agents that can be infused in 30 minutes or less can be considered for administration by HiTH. The benefits of being treated at home include your comfort, as well as saving you unnecessary travel to and from the hospital. If your treatment fits the criteria for HiTH administration the nursing staff in Day Oncology will discuss this with you. If you feel you may be eligible and haven't been approached, please ask the nurse at your next hospital visit.
Ongoing care in the Day Oncology Unit
Each time you come for chemotherapy, please let reception know you have arrived, and show your appointment card. As soon as possible after arrival a nurse will greet you and take you into the treatment area. We try to take patients into the treatment area within 30 minutes of arrival. If you have been waiting longer than 30 minutes, please let reception know and they will talk to the nursing staff to make sure you are treated as soon as possible. Sometimes we can become very busy and long delays can occur. We try to avoid this as much as possible and appreciate your understanding during these times.
Once transferred to the treatment area, the nurse will assess how you have tolerated your previous treatment and the side effects you have experienced since the last cycle of treatment. If you have experienced significant side effects from your treatment please inform your nurse as a medical review may be required. It is not unusual for a medical review to occur at least once throughout your treatment plan.
Attending Oncologist/Haematologist appointments during your Chemotherapy treatment
It is very important that you attend appointments in the Outpatient Department or with your Private Oncologist/Haematologist, between scheduled chemotherapy sessions.
Regular review by your Oncologists/Haematologist during chemotherapy aims to ensure
Any cancer symptoms you experience are well controlled.The Oncologists/Haematologists work very closely with the Day Oncology Unit and will communicate any decisions or changes to your chemotherapy treatment plan. The nurses will follow up with you about your appointments with the Oncologist/Haematologist and if you have any questions please let them know.
Most chemotherapy treatments require that you have a blood test before starting. The nurse will give you further information about what blood tests are needed and where you can organise to have blood taken. It is important that you arrange to have the blood taken prior to 10.00am, the day before your chemotherapy treatment is scheduled. We prefer that you use Dorevitch pathology, but we understand that this may not be convenient. Please advise the nurse which pathology you prefer to use. At the end of each chemotherapy treatment the nurse will make sure you have the right pathology slip and your next treatment appointment is booked in.
Can I choose my appointment times?
Patient appointment times are allocated between 8.30 & 5.00pm each day. We will try to give you your request for a particular time of the day as much as possible. Sometimes we are managing a large number of patients which may impact on our ability to schedule your appointment at the time you would prefer. We appreciate your understanding and ask that you come to the appointment time that we give you.
Where can I park when I come for my chemotherapy treatment?
There are 4 free designated parking spots for chemotherapy patients close to the hospital entrance. These routinely fill quite early in the day, but with a parking slip you are able to park anywhere within the hospital car park free of charge. Speak to your nurse for further information.
Getting to Sunshine Hospital.
Chemotherapy at our Sunbury Satellite Service
A chemotherapy service is operated at Sunbury Day Hospital every Wednesday and Friday. It is staffed with oncology trained nursing and medical staff. If you live within a reasonable distance to Sunbury, treatment at this centre may be offered to you. If you feel that Sunbury is a more convenient location for you to attend chemotherapy please talk to the nurses in Day Oncology about helping you with this change.
Phone: 03 8395 9177