By Monique Kuzeff
Planning has begun to introduce wellness and supportive programs at the Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre, all thanks to the generosity of the local community.
The Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund has delivered a $20,000 fit out of the Wellness Centre, as well as the appointment of a new co-ordinator at a cost of $129,000 over three years.
The funding has been made possible through community fund-raising, donations and corporate sponsorship.
Taking on the role as co-ordinator is health promotion practitioner and nurse Karen Mildren, who hopes the Wellness Centre will offer a range of programs to complement the medical treatment provided to cancer patients.
“What has worked well at other wellness centres is having a range of activities to suit individual needs, like a quiet space where people can come and just sit in solitude – have some time out from a busy hospital environment – or someone to come and talk to in a quiet area and ask questions or seek out some support or advice,” Ms Mildren said.
“But then also having a space for cancer community and support groups, and education sessions around wellness such as Cancer Council programs for those living with or seeking support with wellness after recovering from cancer.”
A library, wig library, information technology and children’s space are other proposals for the centre, along with complementary services that have been proven to be effective for cancer patients.
“Therapies such as meditation and mindfulness, and oncology massage are some examples,” she said.
“But I really want the local community and the patients to have a say in what services and programs they would like to see in the new Wellness Centre.”
Ms Mildren has teamed up with the Hume Regional Integrated Cancer Service (RICS) to host two Cancer Wellness Community Information Forums on Monday, 27 March from 6pm to 7.30pm, and Wednesday 29 March from 10am to 11.30am.
The forums aim to inform cancer patients and their family and friends about the aims of the Wellness Centre and process for introducing services.
They will also seek feedback from the community about what it would like to see provided at the Wellness Centre and seek expressions of interest from people wishing to form a Wellness Centre Advisory Committee.