Developing an allied health service in a new radiotherapy centre in Melbourne’s West (#792)
Introduction: Development of a new radiotherapy centre in Melbourne’s West allowed for the establishment of an integrated allied health service. Background: The Western region of Melbourne is one of the fastest growing corridors in Australia comprising a culturally and linguistically diverse community. The centre is a collaboration between Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Western Health. The allied health team comprises social workers, dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and psychologist. Discussion: Initial challenges were making patient appointments, documenting interventions, establishing patient referral pathways, identification of multidisciplinary team processes such as allocation of space for clinical consultations, hot desks etc. The patient cohort has changed over eighteen months with patients receiving radiotherapy initially diagnosed with breast, prostate and lung cancer. Diagnosis diversity has now increased to include colorectal, upper gastrointestinal and head and neck cancers requiring more extensive allied health intervention. An education programme comprising all members of the treating team was established. Medical staff delivered disease/treatment specific sessions to up-skill allied health staff and each allied health discipline presented their role/functions and referral criteria maximising the patient experience and support. A multi-disciplinary case conference was established to identify new patients requiring allied health input. Allied health referrals are received from a range of staff. Interventions are documented electronically and accessible to all members of the treating team. Allied health team members meet regularly to discuss issues encountered in service provision, develop interdisciplinary relationships and establish team goals. Monthly data collection monitors referrals to various allied health disciplines and subsequent cancer diagnosis. Conclusion: Many factors have contributed to the establishment of a specialised, well functioning allied health team in the radiotherapy centre. Interventions are timely, in line with evidence and practice and designed to meet patients’ needs. Data collection, research and patient experience will continue to inform the development of the multidisciplinary team.