We all know that cancer doesn’t only affect the patient: it impacts every member of the family. While community-based support is available, it can often be hard (and time-consuming) to find out where and how support is being offered.
In response to these challenges, Canteen, Camp Quality and Redkite formed the Child and Youth Cancer Alliance and launched Cancer Hub; a one stop shop to help families impacted by cancer more easily access the practical and emotional support they need, when they need it. With one referral to Cancer Hub, your patients and their families can access specially trained staff who can organise practical support such as financial assistance and accommodation, emotional support such as counselling as well as opportunities for connection and respite.
Cancer Hub has been in operation now for a little over six months and demand for the service has exceeded our expectations:
- 546 referrals have been made to Cancer Hub since July, for families in each State and Territory, which led to 919 triage sessions by the intake team;
- 1714 navigation sessions delivered; and
- 267 referrals have been made to other services to ensure holistic, wrap around support for each family.
Through our evaluation process, we have found that 83% of families surveyed reported high to extreme levels of psychological distress and that the most common support needs were physical (e.g. sleep, eating, fatigue), emotional (e.g. emotional regulation, fear, confidence) and practical (finances, bills, housing, work).
Cancer Hub is the first time that national child and youth charities have formalised shared care through a single gateway. We’re committed to making it easier for hospital staff to connect your patients and their families with the support they need. If you have any further questions, ideas or would like to discuss Cancer Hub in more detail, please feel free to get in touch or call us on 1800 945 215.
Case Study: Cancer Navigation
Jason contacted Cancer Hub seeking urgent help. His 21-month-old daughter, Elodie, had just been diagnosed with leukaemia, and the family needed to move interstate within hours for Elodie to undergo treatment.
The Cancer Navigator worked with Jason and his partner Mary to complete the Cancer Hub needs assessment and identified that the key areas for support were distress, coping with emotions, financial assistance, accommodation, practical support, as well as making sense of Elodie’s cancer diagnosis and what this will mean for them ongoing as a family.
The Cancer Hub Cancer Navigator was able to reach out to a wide range of community support services including accommodation, financial assistance, everyday baby and children’s essentials, counselling, wigs, care of the family pet, books for Elodie and family respite. The key role of coordinating all of these supports was fulfilled by the Cancer Hub Cancer Navigator, thus reducing the burden on Mary and Jason, which allowed them to focus their energy on Elodie.
Through weekly calls and text messages, the Cancer Hub team helped to grow both parents’ confidence, sense of independence and self-reliance. Mary was able to take over navigating the systems around her on her own. This is the outcome Cancer Hub was designed to achieve, with our intake and navigators taking on the initial load and then working with family members to empower them to develop the knowledge, confidence, and skills to advocate and navigate for themselves, in recognition that they have a long road ahead and will need to call upon these inner resources many times over. And of course, Cancer Hub will remain in contact, to offer a supportive hand when needed.