CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

September 17, 2015

New Patient Handbook Puts Cancer Facts, Tools In Patient's Hands: Minister Blady

A new information and resource series is being launched to put helpful facts about cancer and useful resources into the hands of Manitobans facing the disease, Health Minister Sharon Blady announced today.

"These new resources are like a passport and tool kit all in one, providing answers and vital assistance for patients on their cancer journey," said Minister Blady. "These valuable resources build upon work Manitoba has already undertaken through IN SIXTY, the Cancer Patient Journey Initiative."

The development of the Cancer Patient Information and Resource series was supported by the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation and includes:
  • a brochure to help patients prepare for their first appointment with basic information and contact numbers;
  • a notebook for patients to record and organize cancer treatment and care information such as test results and appointment times;
  • a handbook that includes the basic information and notebook along with extensive information on cancer treatment, side effects, health-care teams, support services and worksheets.

"These patient-managed tools will improve the patient experience, by empowering patients and by actively engaging them in their own cancer care," said Dr. Sri Navaratnam, CEO, CancerCare Manitoba. "This will help when patients sometimes must go to other health-care facilities for treatment, such as emergency departments and walk-in clinics. They will have their own personalized health information in their hands."

Patients will be able to use the new tools during their cancer journey to manage key contact information, and to keep important medical information such as appointment times and test results all in one place.

The resources are available to patients online, so patients can fill out helpful worksheets that can be saved or printed. Printed copies of the materials will be available for people with no or limited access to Internet services in a phased roll-out across the province, the minister said.

"A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming, navigating the health-care system can be hard and patients often need support to be active participants in their health care," said Sandra Dudych, one of two cancer survivors who dedicated hours of time to drafting the new resources. "As cancer survivors, we know two-way communication between patients and their health-care providers helps to ensure patients get the best care. These resources will help improve communication as patients move through the system."

Similar resources from Tazmania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Quebec and Alberta were reviewed and informed the development of the new, made-in-Manitoba resources. Focus group testing earlier this year with patients and families confirmed the need for the resources, which received very positive feedback, Minister Blady said.

The minister noted the new resources build on work to implement Manitoba's broader $40-million strategy to improve the cancer patient journey, first announced in June 2011. The goal of the initiative is to shorten the journey from suspicion of cancer as a diagnosis to treatment in less than 60 days.

Many partners are involved in this work including Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors, CancerCare Manitoba and the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, regional health authorities, Diagnostic Services Manitoba, Manitoba eHealth, radiologists, primary care physicians and cancer specialists.

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