by Felicity Ripper
BATTLING cancer is a gruelling experience without having to travel hours to undergo chemotherapy.
But a draining drive to Bundaberg has been the norm for rural patients, until now.
Janice Haygarth is one of the first patients to receive chemotherapy treatment at Gayndah Hospital after four local nurses received specialised training in delivering the cancer treatment.
The initiative comes with the expansion of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service's (WBHHS) innovative Tele-Chemo model; providing services that remote health facilities formally didn't have access to.
"The stress and expense of having to travel to Bundaberg or further for treatment is difficult for rural patients,” WBHHS rural director of nursing Tracey Pattie said.
"Providing this important treatment closer to our patients removes the extra stress they face, which helps them focus as much as possible on simply getting better.”
Gayndah Hospital's chemotherapy sessions take place while the patient and nurses are video-linked with an expert team at the Bundaberg Cancer Care Centre.
The same service was rolled out at Monto in late 2016 and in the upcoming months more rural nurses will finish their training to treat patients at practices across the region.
"Childers, Biggenden and Gin Gin are now undergoing assessment so they have the necessary facilities and resources to treat patients, and the Cancer Care team is already in the process of assessing which patients will be suitable for local treatment,” Mrs Pattie said.
"It will see patients have greater continuity of care with staff who live and work in their own community.”