One of the many things to love about the POGO Satellite Clinics is that each one is part of a networked, shared-care system. The system is a partnership between the five Ontario hospitals with a specialized childhood cancer program (tertiary hospital) and eight community hospitals in the province. They save families time and money in travel to the tertiary hospital by providing standardized childhood cancer care closer to the family’s home. And, when that happens, much-needed capacity is created in those tertiary hospitals. But, that’s not all! When asked to share what they love about the Clinics they manage, the team of POGO Satellite Clinic nurses shed light on what else they have in common.
For many families and patients, getting to the end of treatment is like letting out a long-held, painful breath. So, understandably, it can be a time of celebration, one that is marked in various ways across the network of POGO Satellite Clinics. There may be a bell to ring, a gong to sound, a jingle to sing, or a party where the patient receives a “certificate of completion.”
“Ringing that end-of-treatment bell marks the moment in an extra-powerful and special way for the families,” says Kirsty Morelli of Scarborough Health Network, Centenary Hospital.
Deb Crann from Grand River Hospital can’t help but chuckle. “We are still trying to master our end-of-treatment jingle; we are clearly not music majors!”
At Windsor Regional Hospital, according to Ursula DeBono, “Our gong is a fantastic way to celebrate the end of treatment.”
Multidisciplinary healthcare providers who deliver care as a close-knit team
POGO Satellite Clinic care is provided with a range of healthcare providers on the team. While each Clinic is staffed differently, families can rest assured that every team member is committed to the best possible outcomes for their child.
“We have a close-knit team,” says Deb Crann. “I love our work family of registered nurses, a registered dietitian, Satellite lead pediatrician, child life specialist, welcoming receptionist and music therapist.”
At Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital, one way families and patients get to meet the diverse members of their team is through a Bitmoji board. “Each team member is represented by a caricature of themselves doing something fun,” says Jose Oliveria. “It’s a light-hearted way to engage families with our team-based approach to care,” adds Lindsay Lauer.
Amanda Gaudet, equally proud of her team’s efforts at Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, says, “A smaller clinic allows us to have flexible hours to accommodate patients and to get them in and out faster; they can even come in on weekends!”
“We have an awesome, bilingual team,” says Sylvie Roberge at Northeast Cancer Centre, Health Sciences North, “and we really pull together for our Northern Ontario kids, who are simply the best.”
At Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Shay Cannon notes, “We get to know the kids and their families, like who likes to count before their port is accessed and who doesn’t. And we’ll follow a child’s 10-step checklist if that’s what they need us to do prior to a finger poke.”
Cheerful, fun-filled spaces
Families spend countless hours over many months in hospitals. POGO Satellite Clinic teams go above and beyond to make treatment rooms and waiting areas as inviting as possible. You might find a treasure box, toys and games, electronics, outdoor patios and other creature comforts.
“We have special rooms for teens and a playroom with murals and comfortable furniture,” says Lisa Egan-Bates of Southlake Regional Health Centre.
Shay Cannon adds, “I love giving the kids canvas to paint pictures for the clinic room. They are so proud to have their paintings on the wall.”
“Besides our cheerful space, we also have a treasure box with special toys for kids to choose from after any visit or procedure,” says Ursula DeBono.
No child should ever experience a cancer diagnosis. When that happens, though, POGO Satellite Clinics, POGO Satellite Clinic nurses and the multidisciplinary teams they work with, and the affiliated tertiary hospital, work together to provide coordinated, standardized, shared care at the right time and place, with an extra special touch. Now that’s a lot to love!