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Telehealth delivers chemotherapy in the bush

1 October 2019

Travelling hundreds of kilometres to receive chemotherapy is a thing of the past for Malcolm Motley, who is Theodore’s first cancer patient to access the treatment via Telehealth.

Malcolm was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago and after his surgery his urologist in Rockhampton recommended him as the perfect candidate for chemotherapy.

He commenced a cycle of six treatments which would require him to travel to the Rockhampton Day Therapy Unit every 21 days. By the time he factored in traffic and parking it made for a six-hour round trip, which he was making on his own.

“It was nice to be able to catch up with my son who lives in Rockhampton, and the staff at the hospital look after me but it can get pretty stressful in the days leading up to my treatment, getting ready to make the journey.”

He got the news soon after his treatment started that he could receive telechemotherapy in Theodore due to his specific condition and treatment regime being suitable for Telehealth.

His chemotherapy medication will be delivered to Theodore and administered by specially trained nurses at the hospital while specialists in Rockhampton supervise via Telehealth and provide advice as needed. Malcolm’s first treatment this week will be aided by a visiting cancer care nurse from Rockhampton.

Malcolm says he is excited to complete treatment in his hometown after having to travel for the first three.

“It will be great to get it in Theodore,” he says.

“I live across the road from the hospital, so it’s a much shorter trip!”

Malcolm is positive about his treatment and says he has had a lot of support from the community. He’s even been able to keep working his job at the Hotel Theodore.

“Sometimes I get tired and I need to take five, but after that I’m fine and can keep going as usual.

“There have been lots of people checking in on me around town. Vanessa (Rees, Clinical Nurse Consultant Theodore Hospital) and Melanie (Simmons, Registered Nurse Theodore Hospital) are always asking how I’m doing whenever I see them.”

The suitability of individual patients for telechemotherapy is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

CAPTION: Prostate Cancer Clinical Nurse Consultant Brandon Brown and Medical Oncologist Dr Sudhakar Vemula of Rockhampton Hospital with Theodore chemotherapy patient Malcolm Motley, Theodore Hospital Clinical Nurse Consultant Vanessa Rees, Theodore Hospital Registered Nurse Melanie Simmons and Rockhampton Cancer Care Services Registered Nurse Brodie Murphy.

Prostate Cancer Clinical Nurse Consultant Brandon Brown and Medical Oncologist Dr Sudhakar Vemula of Rockhampton Hospital with Theodore chemotherapy patient Malcolm Motley, Theodore Hospital Clinical Nurse Consultant Vanessa Rees, Theodore Hospital Registered Nurse Melanie Simmons and Rockhampton Cancer Care Services Registered Nurse Brodie Murphy.

Last updated: 3 October 2019

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