Volunteers needed for cancer patient advisory council

HALIFAX, N.S. – The Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program is part of Nova Scotia Health Authority and is responsible for cancer programs and services across the province including: cancer prevention and early detection, treatment, follow-up, supportive care, palliative care and end-of-life care. The Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program collaborates with the IWK Health Centre to support the delivery of cancer services to pediatric and young adult patients, and breast health services including screening.
 
The Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program is looking for patient, family and community volunteers to serve as public advisors on a new advisory council.
 
Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) members will work with cancer health professionals and administrators to provide input on provincial policies, practices, planning and delivery for the full range of cancer programs and services from prevention and early detection through to palliative care and end-of-life care.
 
“Patients and families are experts in their own right,” said Dr. Drew Bethune, Medical Director, Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program. “They have first-hand knowledge of the gaps in the system and their input is helping to make our cancer program the very best it can be.” 
 
Lisa Aikens, whose father had lung cancer, participated as a public advisor on a committee developing an information kit for lung cancer patients. She said her experience as a public advisor was both empowering and healing.
 
“In helping to develop the White Ribbon Kit, I felt I was doing my part to ensure patients diagnosed with lung cancer would have the information they needed to help ease their journey. I would highly recommend it. If you can help even one family, it is so worth it.”
 
Erika Nicholson, Senior Director, Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program, said Nova Scotia has benefited from the input of cancer patients and families on program-specific committees for many years and that work will continue. 
 
“Patients and families, like Lisa, have helped us shape patient education materials and influenced development in areas such as our colon and cervical cancer prevention programs, treatment standards, and tobacco cessation,” she said. “This new council is broader in scope and brings us one step further in engaging patients and public as we work toward our vision of world class cancer care for generations.”
 
Advisors will reflect on their own experiences or those of family members or friends to help NSHA build a provincial, patient-and-family-centred cancer program. No special training is required, and orientation will be provided. The Patient Family Advisory Council will have its first meeting in late Fall 2017. It will meet a minimum of four times each year.
 
Individuals interested in becoming a PFAC member are invited to complete an application form available at www.cancercare.ns.ca/pfac or call Leslie Hill at 902-473-2637, toll-free at 1-866-599-2267, or email her at leslie.hill@nshealth.ca. The deadline for applications is Oct. 20, 2017.
 
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Media contact:
Christine Smith
Nova Scotia Health Authority
902-222-9739