The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is working to fill the gaps in services available to cancer patients and their network of family and caregivers.
The diagnosis of cancer often leads to a crisis of the body, mind and spirit. While resources are available to diagnose and treat the disease at the medical level, support available through the health care system in Ottawa and the region is limited and primarily focused on the acute phases of illness.
In 2008, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation conducted a needs assessment survey: 562 cancer survivors and 34 cancer care professionals responded.
80% of survey respondents indicated they encountered one or more of the following difficulties during their cancer experience:
- Understanding the information and knowing what to expect
- Finding people to talk to/support programs
- Coping with worry and stress
- Coping with side effects
- Finding post-treatment care
Upon review of the findings, and discussions with key stakeholders the Cancer Foundation began plans to develop a centre for cancer survivorship in our community. The facility would house programs not offered at local hospitals or by area support groups and would address the unique concerns of cancer patients in our region.
In September 2009 the Cancer Foundation unveiled plans to build a Cancer Survivorship Centre on the grounds of the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park.
The Cancer Foundation officially opened the Maplesoft Centre offering Cancer Survivorship Care Programming in November 2011. This is a series of programs and workshops, led by certified cancer care professional and volunteers, designed to assist the patient, and those closest to them, through every step of the cancer journey from pre-diagnosis, through the process of diagnosis and treatment, to post-treatment recovery.
Cancer Survivorship Care programming is offered free of charge and without a medical referral – and provides tailored individual and group services.
The programming complements the work of other members of the health care team and ensures the healing above and beyond the tumour.The programs cover a wide range of topics including:
- Assistance navigating your cancer journey
- Coping mechanisms
- Individual and group counselling
- Post treatment
- Financial concerns
- Nutrition, health and fitness
- Prevention information