Cancer centre awarded for innovative educational programs in Hamilton


Published December 19, 2023 at 10:32 am

Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre has been honoured for innovative new programs. via HHS

The Hamilton Health Sciences Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre has received two provincial awards for new innovative programs designed to educate patients about their diagnoses and help children deal with their parents’ illnesses.

The Canadian Cancer Society and Cancer Quality Council of Ontario held their annual Quality and Innovation Awards on Dec. 8. These awards honour “work that improves cancer care delivery in the province through new approaches, processes, products or programs” and make a “significant difference by improving the cancer system through efficiency, the patient experience, cost-effectiveness or sustainability.”

They awarded Juravinski the 2023 Quality Award for its Serious Illness Care Program and noted its Child Life Specialist Service as an honourable mention for the Innovation Award.

The Serious Illness Care Program is an online course for healthcare professionals used to guide them through “early, high-quality talks” with patients diagnosed with serious illnesses such as incurable cancers. Juravinski provides this program to all its employees including doctors, nurses nurse practitioners and social workers.

The tools in the program include a conversation and reference guide to create “meaningful, beneficial conversations with patients to help in identifying their goals and values early in the disease trajectory while they are still able to make decisions.”

Serious Illness Care Program lead Sandra Andreychuk, oncologist and the program’s medical lead Dr. Oren Levine, clinical manager Karen Madden and patient and family advisory committee member Adrienne Sultana were all specifically noted for supporting the program’s rollout.

“This award acknowledges our commitment to supporting patients, and the dedication it has taken to implement this program,” Andreychuk said. Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Ted Scott also celebrated saying, “We are thrilled to receive this recognition, which acknowledges a commitment to ensure HHS providers are equipped to address end-of-life conversations with patients through innovation.”

“It’s really tough to have conversations about serious illness, for patients as well as providers,” Levine said, “Having such tools to support higher-quality conversations early on has shown to significantly reduce anxiety for patients and improve job satisfaction among clinicians. These conversations also create a foundation for values-based decisions that need to happen over time.”

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