There's no place like home for cancer patients
24 August 2018
CQ Health’s Speech Pathology and Dietetics staff are taking telehealth to a whole new level – delivering appointments for patients recovering from head and neck cancer directly to their own home.
Russell Hansen, a patient with head and neck cancer from Gladstone, attends his regular appointment with Rockhampton (Cancer Care Services) Speech Pathologist Meg Currant and Dietitian Tiffany Newby from the comfort of his own lounge-room.
Mr Hansen has been home for three months after spending over 6½ weeks in Brisbane for surgery and chemoradiation therapy to treat tongue cancer.
Meg and Tiffany have been helping Mr Hansen with his recovery using telehealth directly into his home via the Queensland Health Telehealth Portal. Mr Hansen connects from home using an app and he’s a happy man that he gets to avoid the roadworks, doesn’t have to look for a car park, and saves $50 in fuel driving to Rockhampton. The flexibility also allows Mr Hansen to fit his appointments in around his job.
Mr Hansen had half his tongue removed followed by chemoradiation, which meant he had trouble swallowing, speaking clearly, and maintaining his weight.
Meg and Tiffany have worked hard to help him manage the side effects of his treatment and Mr Hansen has worked hard at following their instructions.
His treatment was tough. “Nothing can prepare you for it,” he said.
“Even when I had my operation I had no idea what was going to happen. I’d never spent the night in hospital in my whole life.”
Having follow-up appointments in his home is a welcome convenience.
“It’s great. With everything I’ve been through this is my safe place – home,” he said.
“When you have the operation you just want to go home and this is it.”
“To be able to do this is great. I don’t have to go anywhere, I don’t even have to wear pants – But I do!”
“We can talk, it’s just excellent. Meg can look at how my tongue is working and help coach me with my speech. It’s always nice to see them face-to-face”.
“It’s a win-win situation.”
Meg and Tiffany love seeing the positive impact of their telehealth sessions too, saying it’s an added benefit to a patient’s recovery that they can make their appointments as simple as possible and the technology has worked well every time.
Telehealth is transforming clinical practice and this new service option is just another way that technology can be used to deliver great care for Central Queenslanders “closer to home”. In this case you can’t get any closer!