Known as a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness, Laureen Harper toured the Breast Care Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital on April 4 to learn about the centre’s innovative approach to care. She was joined by MP Susan Truppe, London North Centre.
“We were pleased to share with Mrs. Harper and Susan Truppe achievements that have been made possible with the coming together of our dynamic breast care team in one, central location,” says St. Joseph’s president and CEO Dr. Gillian Kernaghan. “The difference we are now seeing in access to care and the patient experience is truly outstanding.”
Mrs. Harper, who met with staff members, said “you can tell they have kindness in their hearts and are very dedicated and proud of the work they do. This is a fantastic facility.”
St. Joseph’s Breast Care Centre is the primary location for hospital-based breast imaging, diagnostic and surgery services in London. Located in specially-designed space, the centre brings together the interdisciplinary breast care team of surgeons, radiologists, medical radiation technologists, nurse navigators, advanced practice nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers and others in a unique team setting that enhances care and collaboration.
During the tour, members of the care team explained the benefits of working side-by-side, including a smoother care journey for patients and new synergies to further care and research. Since the centre was created in 2010, wait times for patients facing breast cancer have been significantly reduced while the number of patients assessed at the centre has doubled. Among other accomplishments are:
- A one-number central referral process has been established. A nurse practitioner reviews all new referrals, triages them and books the appropriate appointments to streamline access to care and reduce wait times for women most in need.
- Same day imaging and biopsy allows patients with an abnormal mammogram screening receive the necessary imaging and breast biopsy in one day.
- Expanded hours for breast imaging have been implemented to accommodate more patients each day. Currently about 110 patients receive breast imaging daily at the centre.
- Radiation oncology consultation was implemented to enhance convenience for breast patients, who are able have their initial meeting with a radiation oncologist during their visit to St. Joseph’s. (Chemotherapy and radiation therapy remains at London Health Sciences Centre.)
- A multidisciplinary approach, including nurse navigators and advanced practice nurses, is resulting in coordinated care for patients from the time an abnormality is detected throughout the care journey.
The visit by Mrs. Harper and MP Susan Truppe came two days before St. Joseph’s Heath Care Foundation’s Bust Move for Breast Health event, a fitness extravaganza on April 6 that is raising vital funds for the Breast Care Centre. Mrs. Harper, who was honourary chair of Bust a Move in Ottawa, made sure to take in the giant pink construction crane at St. Joseph’s Hospital and was pleased to take home a London Bust a Move t-shirt.