Engaging Family Health Providers to Improve Cancer Care
More than 150 family health-care providers and cancer specialists will gather in Halifax on Friday, April 23, to discuss cancer prevention, treatment and care. The one-day symposium is hosted by Cancer Care Nova Scotia and Doctors Nova Scotia. During the meeting participants will explore issues that help and challenge family health-care providers in supporting patients, identify ways to improve prevention, treatment, co-ordination of care and followup care. “This symposium is a step toward providing even better care for cancer patients, said Theresa Marie Underhill, chief operating officer, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “By opening the dialogue between family health providers and specialists we will identify ways to support one another and better integrate care.” Dr. Bruce Colwell, medical oncologist, Capital Health Cancer Care Program, said his role is to work with patients to help them make decisions about the best cancer treatment and to ensure they receive their treatment in a safe and efficient manner. “Family physicians and other family health providers have an ongoing relationship with their patients and have knowledge of their other medical problems, and are a vital key in the ongoing care of the patient,” he said. “These routine visits provide valuable communication and education opportunities for providers and patients alike. Studies have shown that countries with more family physicians have earlier detection of cancer and decreased mortality rates.” Dr. Ross Leighton, president of Doctors Nova Scotia said that family physicians and other primary care providers want to provide their patients with the best quality of care possible. “Cancer is a very complex issue that requires an integrated approach. That’s why we’re partnering with Cancer Care Nova Scotia to discuss how family physicians and family care providers can become more engaged with cancer specialists and continue to improve patient care.” The family care team at Hatchett Lake Medical Centre believed this opportunity was so important that the majority of their practitioners have signed up to attend. “Everyone benefits when health-care providers work together,” said Dr. Jeffrey Colp, Hatchett Lake Medical Center. “As a collaborative team our family physicians and family practice nurses strive to provide the best possible screening and early detection for our patients and community. For those who have a diagnosis of cancer, we provide ongoing support for the entire family in the context of the total health picture. To do this, communication with other health care providers in the system is vital.” The day includes presentations and discussions on cancer prevention, early detection, long-term followup care and issues for survivors. Cancer Care Nova Scotia, a provincial program of the Department of Health, was created in 1998 to facilitate quality cancer prevention and care for all Nova Scotians. Doctors Nova Scotia is the professional association representing all doctors in the province. It is the oldest medical association in Canada. The association represents about 2,300 physicians serving patients across the province, and 700 medical students and residents.