New Resource Centre offers support to patients and families living with cancer

News / General
By Jennifer Anselm

Lending library includes hundreds of books, DVD's

The cancer journey can be stressful and confusing. Now there is a new support in place at The Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario at Kingston General Hospital to help patients and their families find information that can help them better understand and cope with the steps ahead.

Located in the Burr Wing lobby, the newly-opened Patient and Family Resource Centre offers materials including pamphlets and other educational tools, a computer terminal with internet access as well as a lending library that provides hundreds of topical books and DVD's.

"It's so important for patients and families to have a place where they can find credible information - information they know has been reviewed and approved by people who understand their illness," says Wendy Swain, a KGH Patient Experience Advisor who was instrumental in the centre's development.

The resources were carefully compiled with input from KGH patients and their families, and include recommendations from patient and family cancer resource centres from across Canada. "As part of KGH's patient- and family-centred focus, we made it a priority to create a place that would help take the stress out of finding reliable information during what can be a difficult time," says Jessica Holmes, Patient Educator for the Oncology Program.

While most of the resources are cancer-specific, the collection also includes materials on general topics such as talking to children about a long-term illness, sexuality and relationships during cancer, end-of-life care, as well as information geared toward caregivers.

"We have included subjects that we know people value during their journey. For example, we have a whole shelf dedicated to good nutrition and cookbooks," says Holmes. "We have already amassed 250 books and definitely encourage patients and their loved ones to visit and browse around."

The centre is also proving to be a useful resource for staff. Holmes says that since opening last month, there have been a number of staff accompanying patients to the resource centre. "They often arrive together at the end of an appointment," she says. "While the centre is not a replacement for the advice of the health-care team, it can be a supportive environment to learn more."

Going forward, the vision for the centre includes even more resources."Our goal is to become a hub for cancer patient and family education. Eventually, we will have group classes, including chemotherapy group sessions for all those undergoing chemotherapy. We would also like to add e-books to our resources and eventually incorporate the use of tablets which would allow for more interactive patient education such as viewing YouTube clips," says Holmes.

The Patient and Family Resource Centre is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with limited hours during the summer. Volunteers are available to assist visitors in their search for information.

Monetary donations can be made through the UHKF Cancer Patient Assistance Fund.