Central Adelaide is recruiting 90 cancer patients to take part in a pilot program developed by CancerAid, which will complement Central Adelaide’s cancer service and help support and empower people facing cancer.
Through the program, patients diagnosed with breast, upper gastrointestinal and colon cancer will have access to a personal professional health coach and a smart phone app, which they can use to track symptoms.
The CancerAid Coach Program has been designed by oncologists and with feedback from consumers to help improve health outcomes through setting health goals and better understanding their treatment.
Jo Glover, Clinical Program Delivery Manager for Cancer Services, says they can see the potential benefits for their patients being able to reach out to someone that isn’t a clinician for support, and will be analysing the data from the pilot closely.
“We think that when you feel well in your mind, then your immune system functions better. If a patient is feeling empowered and they’re able to talk to someone, then that might prevent them from coming to ED if they’re feeling anxious.
“It’s a very patient-centred program that is ideal for patients to use, particularly during COVID, where there is a lot of anxiety about accessing their appointments and health support. It also makes this support accessible for patients who may be living in remote or rural areas.”
Participants in the program at other sites have reported improvements in fatigue, pain, physical and mental health and quality of life, with one saying:
“It helps you get access to resources that are vetted. Cancer treatment in Australia is so good, but you need that emotional and holistic support.”
People facing cancer can access a CancerAid coach – someone who is a healthcare professional that has experience providing care to patients with cancer.
The coach can support patients virtually to help them understand more about the diagnosis and what steps they can take to improve recovery.
They do not provide medical advice but aim to complement a patient’s medical team by helping to guide them through treatment and assist them in reaching their health goals.
Coaches will focus on exercise, sleep, diet and mindfulness, as well as helping a patient have a more informed conversation with their treating team.
“Ultimately it will be a useful wellbeing tool, with patients being able to use the strategies when they move into survivorship or in living with cancer,” Jo says.
Patients can speak to their clinician for more information about the Program, or learn more here: coach.canceraid.com/calhn