Cancer Council WA Accommodation Lodges
About Cancer Council WA
Cancer Council WA is WA’s leading cancer charity aiming to reducing the incidence and impact of cancer and achieving a cancer free future. The accommodation lodges are one of the many services Cancer Council WA provides to cancer patients in WA. The two self-catering lodges in Nedlands and Shenton Park offer a home-away-from-home for regional cancer patients and their carers while they access treatments and appointments in Perth.
The accommodation lodges help reduce the expenses and hardship by providing accommodation and support services close to treatment centres. Since first opening their doors 20 years ago, the lodges have had over 67,000 check-ins from regional cancer patients and their carers. In the 2019/20 financial year the lodges recorded 4,891 check-ins of which 75% was a return guest.
Why is addressing smoking important for regional cancer patients?
People living regionally in WA have higher smoking rates than those living in Perth. They also have poorer access to smoking cessation information and support. Smoking is a leading risk factor for 16 types of cancers and growing research shows that smoking also negatively affects cancer treatment outcomes by:
• increasing aggressiveness of cancer,
• reducing the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and
• increasing cancer-treatment-related toxicity and complications .
Cancer Council WA believes it is important to support cancer patients to reduce the risk from smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. The grounds at both lodges are smoke-free however some guests require ongoing support to adhere to the smoke-free policy.
Working together with Make Smoking History
The Make Smoking History project was tailored to make the most of the supportive and friendly culture of the lodges, and come from a place of care with a focus on regional equity.
“What separates our accommodation lodges from others is that we focus on providing personalised support services to our guests based on their needs during treatment. Offering smoke-free Accommodation facilities to our inhouse guests can be a real challenge because of the higher smoking rates seen amongst people from regional WA and dealing with transient populations at our Lodges.” says Ron ten Hoor, Accommodation Services Manager.
Make Smoking History believed that despite the difficult circumstance guests are going through during their stay, if the information and support is delivered in an empathetic and individualised manner it can be a powerful time to make a positive health change.
1. Upskilling staff
The Cancer Support Coordinators who provide psychosocial support to the guest and their families staying at the lodges were perfectly placed to have conversations about smoking cessation with clients. Training and support was provided so they could feel better equipped to support guests to manage and/or quit smoking and adhere to the smoke-free policy.
2. Providing stop smoking medications
Cancer Council WA has established a partnership with TerryWhite Chemmart Nedlands which allows guests and carers to access stop smoking medications to aid their quitting attempts. This collaborative approach has reduced some of the financial burden experienced by guests during their stay and has provided access to best practice smoking cessation, alongside ongoing follow-up with the nurses.
“With increasing research demonstrating that continued smoking can adversely affect cancer treatment outcomes, there is added reason to discuss reducing and quitting smoking with our guests at the Accommodation Lodges.
The extra training provided by Make Smoking History, enables me to broach the subject in a friendly manner, whilst providing information and an opportunity for our guests to access quit smoking support at no cost. It is so nice to complement the information with the means for guests to be able to make the change.
Whilst this can promote optimal cancer treatment outcomes, it also assists to reduce some of the financial burden experienced by some of our guests. Cancer Council WA is committed to providing a holistic support service for people affected by cancer and quit smoking support is a vital part of that.”
- Karen Richardson, Cancer Support Coordinator
3. Revising processes, procedures and policy
Paperwork including booking confirmation letters, guest agreement forms, code of conduct, and information sheets that are provided to all guests staying at the lodges has been updated to include information on smoking, the smoke-free policy, and quit smoking support. This ensures guests are aware of smoking rules and services available.
A referral pathway was designed so guests can easily access the free stop smoking medications from TerryWhite Chemmart. A tracking tool was developed to monitor all guests that are asked about their smoking and uptake of the quit support provided by the nurses.
Cancer Council WA has an existing smoke-free policy, and a review of the policy was undertaken with People and Culture team to ensure it is up-to date and informs staff of expectations and responsibilities and quit support available.
4. Supportive environment
In consultation with staff, smoke-free signage was designed, printed and displayed around the accommodation lodges. The signage has positive messaging that is tailored for cancer patients and resembles Cancer Council WA values.
This project is giving cancer patients at the accommodation lodges the opportunity to access information and support to reduce and quit their smoking, re-evaluate their smoking behaviours and the motivation to make a change.
One of the success stories is John, who was able to reduce his smoking through the support provided:
John stayed at the lodges in February 2020, while his father was undergoing treatment at Perth. During his stay, Karen Richardson, Cancer Support Coordinator, discussed smoking and if he was interested in quitting. Initially declining the offer, however during the second conversation, he asked Karen for assistance and to be referred to a GP.
“Through TerryWhite Chemmart, John was able to access stop smoking medications. John firstly reduced his smoking and experienced some side effects from the medication, however with continued use the side effects stopped” says Karen.
Since then he has only had a very occasional puff. However he says it tastes awful and he hasn't bought any cigarettes.
For more information about the accommodation services visit: https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/patients/support-and-services/accommodation-services/