Coaching in Ottawa’s East End: Help us Spread the Word!

By Cancer Foundation on August 2 / 2018

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Since the Cancer Foundation launched its eastern Coaching location last year at the Clarence-Rockland Family Health Team, it has been both an exciting journey and a profound learning experience for Nasser.

As a Cancer Coach, he enjoys meeting with families in Rockland who are facing cancer and providing an important aspect of their care in their own community. But he’s also been doing a lot of outreach, and knows the information he’s sharing about Coaching isn’t yet reaching everybody it needs to.

“I can see the incredible difference this is making for my clients here,” Nasser says, “but I know there are many more families nearby who might not know Coaching is available, or know how much it can help them.”

Nasser sees clients in Rockland every Friday, but says outreach to help people access Cancer Coaching could prove to be a challenge.

For many people facing cancer and living in the Prescott Russell area, many aspects of their care requires inter-city travel. Many go to the Ottawa Hospital’s general campus on Smyth for treatment or to a hospital in Hawkesbury, both of which can be up to an hour’s drive away. “Almost all my clients have told me they wouldn’t be able to do Coaching if it were also that far,” Nasser adds.

Coaching in Rockland provides an accessible opportunity for patients to receive part of their care close to home. For most, it’s even located in the same building as their family doctor, and many say they appreciate having a professional to talk to and to receive support in decision-making, planning for the future and in focusing on their health and wellbeing.

But Nasser says reaching more families might be complicated. On a good day, he will have a full schedule of Coaching conversations, but says he hopes to see more clients on a regular basis than he currently is. “A cancer diagnosis can be just as common in the East End as it is anywhere else in the city,” he says, “but there things unique to this area that can affect someone’s likelihood of hearing about and signing up for Coaching.”

One example is connectivity – many families living in more rural communities have little access to the internet or are less likely to use it, and therefore wouldn’t make use of virtual Coaching or the Cancer Foundation’s newly partnered NexJ platform to communicate with their Coach. They might also not have access to other sources of information about Coaching or printed resources. These factors may prevent them from learning about Coaching in the first place, or from helping them to decide if it’s right for them.

But Nasser says the community is visibly excited about Cancer Coaching being available so close to home, and hopes to build on this energy to create positive action. “I did a presentation to raise awareness for a community group recently, and that session had three times their regular attendance. They gave incredible feedback, so I know how excited they are to see this service available here,” he says.

For future outreach, Nasser and his colleagues plan to continue meeting with health professionals and groups throughout the community, and will be exploring opportunities with local media as well.  He hopes to be able to see as many clients in Rockland as possible, and for new Coaching partnerships to open up in surrounding communities one day as well.

“I think it would really help if people continue giving word-of-mouth referrals to their friends and family members, and continue to openly discuss how Coaching can help,” Nasser says. “When someone living in the East End is diagnosed with cancer, the first thing they should think to do is call the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.”

Do you know someone who is facing cancer and who lives in the East End of Ottawa? Please encourage them to visit www.ottawacancer.ca or call 613-247-3527. Cancer Coaching can help someone facing cancer navigate the many aspects of their treatment and care while providing support and guidance in managing their health and well-being.

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