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Providing accommodation services for rural cancer patients: the experience in South Australia

  • Year: 2007
  • Author: Beckmann, K; Abell, L; Edwards, D; Leone, L; Kerrins, E; Strange, C; Lee, S; Abram, L
  • Journal Name: Cancer Forum
  • Journal Number: Vol. 31, No. 2
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: South Australia

People from rural and remote areas face additional psychological and financial burdens associated with the need to travel for cancer treatment and follow up. To reduce these burdens, The Cancer Council South Australia has established an affordable accommodation service that provides a friendly, homely, supportive environment, where people from nonmetropolitan areas can stay while accessing treatment services in the city. The model adopted is very similar to the concept of 'hope lodges' advocated by the International Union Against Cancer, in that it focuses on the needs of guests. A key aspect of the service is the provision of practical and psychosocial support. Support is provided through a variety of avenues; a qualified social worker on site, trained volunteer visitors, social and recreation programs to encourage informal peer support and transport to major treatment centres. These services are available to people with cancer, their carers and any family or friends staying with them. In our experience, this model of providing accommodation services to rural cancer patients is both extremely popular and financially viable, and we would encourage other relevant organisations to consider developing similar services where there is an identifiable need.

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