This year, 2023, marks POGO’s 40th anniversary and 25 years of providing care closer to home through the POGO Provincial Pediatric Oncology Satellite Clinic Program. POGO’s longstanding partnership with community hospitals across Ontario began in 1998 to reduce the logistical challenges experienced by families who live outside major city centres where hospitals with specialized childhood cancer programs are located.
What is the POGO Satellite Clinic Program?
The POGO Satellite Program is a networked, shared-care system based on a partnership between POGO, eight community hospitals and the specialized childhood cancer programs at SickKids (Toronto), McMaster Children’s Hospital (Hamilton), Children’s Hospital (London) and CHEO (Ottawa). POGO Satellite Clinics are located in the community hospitals and enable aspects of a child’s care to occur closer to home. Each Clinic and the children’s hospital with which it is linked work collaboratively to provide integrated, seamless care for children with cancer and their families.
What are the POGO Satellite Clinics located?
POGO Satellite Clinics are in these communities across Ontario:
- Grand River Hospital, Kitchener-Waterloo Campus
- Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital Site (Mississauga)
- Southlake Regional Health Centre (Newmarket)
- Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital
- Peterborough Regional Health Centre
- Scarborough Health Network, Centenary Hospital
- Northeast Cancer Centre, Health Sciences North (Sudbury)
- Windsor Regional Hospital, Metropolitan Campus
How do POGO Satellite Clinics help families?
With standardized childhood cancer care available closer to home, families spend less time travelling and away from work with a potential loss of income and time separated from their home and community. They also have the confidence of knowing that their child is receiving the best quality care, coordinated by the healthcare teams at their POGO Satellite Clinic and the associated children’s hospital. While long-distance travel cannot be eliminated altogether, receiving components of care closer to home vastly reduces families’ overall levels of stress, disruption of work and school attendance, and expense.
“Having a POGO Satellite Clinic so close to home cuts down on the cost of gas and, more importantly, helps us maintain some semblance of regular life. When Ryla has a fever, the POGO Satellite Clinic is our first stop. This minimizes the disruption in our lives and allows us more family time.”
– Roberta Webster, parent
How does the POGO Satellite Clinic program help the overall healthcare system?
POGO Satellite Clinics enable the hospitals with a specialized childhood cancer program to increase their capacity to provide more complex treatment and/or monitoring.
“Having patients seen and treated closer to home has allowed the healthcare staff and resources in specialized childhood cancer programs to focus on patients that might require more specialized care. It also eases both in- and out-patient numbers in these programs on any given day, allowing for more time with each family. The built-in communication between the POGO Satellites and the specialized childhood cancer programs ensures seamless care. Our families report their visits at POGO Satellites as a very positive experience. They report the kindness of staff and individual care received as fostering a welcoming environment that has the additional benefit of proximity to their home.”
– Dr. Carol Portwine, Division Head, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, McMaster University
How is the geographic location of a POGO Satellite Clinic determined?
Many factors are considered when determining the geographic location of a POGO Satellite Clinic including, but not limited to, caseload in the region and geographic distance to a major hospital with a specialized childhood cancer program. POGO helps ensure that healthcare teams have the right mix of oncologists, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and other experts to meet the need.
“The POGO Satellite Clinic Program has been instrumental in allowing our families from Northern Ontario to get the specialized care they need close to home. It allows patients to remain with their families at a challenging time in their lives, and also with their friends and community supports. Working with the POGO Satellite Clinic at Northeast Cancer Centre, Health Sciences North really shows how we are all doing the best for our amazing patients.”
– Dr. Donna Johnston Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, CHEO
How can families be sure they are receiving the best care at a POGO Satellite Clinic?
POGO creates and updates operational standards and guidance documents so that comprehensive, technologically-advanced childhood cancer care can be delivered as close to the child’s home as is compatible with the level of care required. That care also has to be equivalent to care received in a specialized childhood cancer program. POGO remains an important resource in promoting partnerships between healthcare teams across the child’s treating hospitals, monitoring activity in the Satellite Clinics and promoting early referral to each community hospital to maximize capacity to provide complex cancer treatment closer to home. POGO also provides regular professional development opportunities for healthcare team members.
“We have a close-knit team. I love our work family of registered nurses, a registered dietitian, Satellite lead pediatrician, child life specialist, welcoming receptionist and music therapist.”
– Deb Crann, POGO Satellite Clinic Nurse Coordinator, Grand River Hospital