Cancer Concierge service helps patients when they need it most

A trial of a new CALHN Cancer Concierge service has recently started at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The service provides a dedicated support officer to patients admitted to hospital for cancer treatment, to assist with non-clinical matters.

Lighting the way

While information is provided to new patients being admitted to hospital for cancer treatment, the onboarding process can, understandably, be an overwhelming experience.

“You come in, you’re being treated for cancer, you’re completely overwhelmed, you look at this stuff and think ‘yeah, not now’. And so you don’t get the information you need,” said consumer representative, Marie, who is helping to lead the Cancer Concierge development.

“Whereas when you’ve got someone coming in, actively going through it with you, that’s going to make a big difference.”

All new patients admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for cancer treatment will receive a visit from the Cancer Concierge officer within 24 hours to help them settle in. This includes help using the TV, ordering meals, using the My Healthcare Plan for Today Board and getting set up with the Personify and CancerAid digital applications.

The concierge will help patients to access additional language or cultural services and to help navigate their information provided by clinical staff, or to seek out further information.

“The concierge has a much better ability to track down clinical information for patients than they do,” said Ms Tunney.

“Sometimes memory is not the best, and that’s particularly the case if you’re being treated for cancer. Then it’s a matter of ‘well, do I buzz the nurse again and ask them to come and help me?’. Whereas if you have a concierge, it alleviates a lot of that worry,” added Marie.

Patients will also be able to message the service at any time via the Personify App, if they have non-medical related questions or concerns.

“It’s giving the patients a contact point, and an immediate ability to reach out to someone when they have questions,” said Natasha Tunney, Business Improvement Manager, Cancer Services.

The three-month trial will help the organisers to determine the workload of the concierge to ensure the right amount of support.

“Hopefully, if it’s successful, patients in other programs within CALHN can benefit from a similar model,” said Ms Tunney.