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Pancare Foundation

Expansion of Telehealth Counselling Service

Expansion of Telehealth Counselling Service

Over a decade of international evidence demonstrates that people affected by cancer experience significant unmet information needs. At a time when people are ...

australia > ALL > both
01/02/2021 > 31/12/2021

FIELD OF INTEREST

  • Health/wellbeing & medical research
  • Individual/family services & support

TARGET POPULATION

  • People with a disability, illness or disease
  • Seniors (65+)

PROJECT SUMMARY

Over a decade of international evidence demonstrates that people affected by cancer experience significant unmet information needs. At a time when people are at their most vulnerable and fearful, lack of information compounds distress, anxiety, depression and critically, ability to understand and adhere to treatment.

People affected by rare and less common cancers are particularly disadvantaged by limited access to information directed to their specific needs. This further disadvantages people already challenged by often complex, incurable cancers. This directly impacts quality of life – and is preventable.

PanSupport, Pancare’s patient and carer hub recently acquired from the University of Melbourne, is an online, supportive care resource developed with and for people affected by pancreatic cancer. It provides 24/7 access to information and support to Australians living with pancreatic cancer, wherever they are. Developed and endorsed by the pancreatic cancer community, PanSupport directly addresses inequity of access to information, ensuring that anyone impacted by this confronting disease has the opportunity to find the information they need “to live as well as possible”.

In addition to this online hub, Pancare’s Patient and Carer service has been providing since 2014 a dedicated nurse specialist service (now telehealth), financial support, wellbeing webinars, online and face-to-face Support Groups, and now a qualified counsellor.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a decrease in Australians seeking clinical advice, care and treatment for cancer. For those with upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers – pancreatic, oesophageal, stomach, liver and biliary – the pandemic amplified traumas of rare cancers and isolated patients and carers from the support services they desperately need. Connecting to support services is critical.

The usual questions about cancer have been compounded by concerns of infectious disease, service accessibility, disruptions to therapies and surgery, impediments to family visits, virtual communications and even organising funerals.

Pancare experienced a 50% surge in service demand while running at 60% of normal capacity. The number of support sessions, the time required per session and referral numbers increased significantly.

The demand was so high for psycho-social support that a qualified counsellor volunteered her time to provide pro bono counselling support for Pancare patients/carers. Our rapid shift to telehealth-only services helped us support 1500 Australians. We have since managed to pay for her time one day per week but the demand for help exceeds this we ask ACF donors to expand this service by funding our counsellor to work more days.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

The provision of a full-time telehealth counselling role at Pancare will improve emotional wellbeing, enable a better quality of life and, in some cases, be life-changing or life-saving for patients and carers.

We estimate that the total number of new cases diagnosed of pancreatic, oesophageal, stomach, liver, biliary cancers in Australia between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022 will be 12,394.

In 2019, Pancare only had the capacity and resources to actively support 5% of people diagnosed with pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers.

Pancare's five year success measure: Actively support 20% of patients and carers affected by pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers.

Accrual of participants will be monitored and assessed monthly via the Pancare Patient
Management System. Surveys of patients and carers will determine the value to recipients and ensure continuous improvement.

Profile of Pancare Foundation

Pancare Foundation

Pancare Foundation is taking on the challenge of improving the lives for people living with pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers and their carers.

The survival rates for pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers are grim. When someone is diagnosed with one of these cancers, their
chances of being alive five years later is less than 20 per cent.

Despite this, pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers receive far less funding than cancers with five year survival rates of over 90 per cent. Pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal cancers are the forgotten cancers.

With the right level of investment, substantial progress can be made to improve support and survival rates for people living with these forgotten cancers. Pancare is well placed to help deliver this progress. In a short period of time, we have substantially increased the number of patients we support and made a real difference in the lives of people living with these cancers, along with their families and carers.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN

TOTAL BUDGET: $74,880
FUNDING
Funding sourceAmount
Funding gap (unconfirmed)$18,270
From philanthropy$56,610
EXPENSES
Expense itemAmount
Counsellor Salary four days PW$74,880

Support Expansion of Telehealth Counselling Service

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