ONE EXAMPLE OF A CANCER RESOURCES CENTRE

In late May 2011, on my way to staff the International Brain Tumour Alliance display booth
at the Annual Conference of  the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conference in Chicago
I travelled via Vancouver in British Columbia to attend another conference and to meet with the
local brain tumour support group and advisory committee at the British Columbia Cancer
Agency. My host was Rosie Cashman, Nurse Practitioner at the Agency, who facilitated
my meeting with relevant people who explained how they provide resources to their cancer
patients and caregivers. Some of these ideas could be incoporated in the proposed new Canberra
Cancer Centre. Denis Strangman: string@hotkey.net.au

Some questions for us to consider:

1. Do we need a group of special volunteers to provide an all-cancers service in the Canberra proposed resources centre?
Or do we rely on interested volunteers from within our associated disease-specific groups?

2. Would it be possible for staff of the TCH library to provide a mail borrowing service and inquiry centre for non-ACT
users of  the services of the CRCS?

3. If we have volunteers will they be asked by consumers how to operate the Internet terminals? Will TCH IT staff
be responsible for servicing the terminals?

4. Where could we locate a mobile phone charging station which would be optimally available to visitors? Should the
charging station be sponsored by a company?

5. What method of client location and alert system will be available for patients who are awaiting appointments?
A call number on screens as at Shopfront offices, or a buffet device which they collect on entry to the building? Whatever
is chosen should enable the maximum opportunity for free movement by patients and their carers, between waiting rooms,
coffee machines, the patient resource centre, the proposed quiet room, etc.



The Vancouver Centre of the British Columbia Cancer Agency occupies a building of several stories with under-roof parking which patients can access.
In the ground floor foyer opposite the inquiry counter there is a mini Cancer Information Centre which is staffed by  volunteers on a half day per fortnight basis. A volunteer I met was a foreign-trained Doctor awaiting clearance of his credentials. Other volunteers are people who seek to gain experience of a health-related working environment.
This is where the volunteer sits. Its location encourages casual visitors. The Vancouver service has more than 100 volunteers who assist patients and caregivers in many different ways. That number is about equivalent to the volunteer force at Clare Holland House.
Vsitors can access the Internet through this terminal and search for recommended resources. They can also update their Facebook page, which is what the coordinator at a patient resource centre at Vancouver General Hospital told me was what many people did these days when they had access to an Internet terminal.
Across the road in a separate building occupied by research staff there is a spacious ground floor library which patients and caregivers can use. The staff told me that they send resources by post all over the Province.
There is also a theatrette and meeting areas and a small cafe.
Disease-specific patient resources are displayed, including the latest issue of "Brain Tumour" magazine (top right). VHS videos are being replaced by DVDs.
There are traditional library display shelves but Library staff, as with similar staff elsewhere, are dealing with the challenge of different demands by users, with on-line requests and responses increasing.
At the ASCO conference there were several mobile phone Charging Stations for use by participants. This one was sponsored by a pharma company.
These Stations are also common at US airports and have different USB leads to fit the different phone connection ports. A Charging Station could be strageically placed in the waiting area of the new Canberra Cancer Centre. Mobile phones are an essential part of everyone's life these days.