THE BENEFITS Worcestershire’s first radiotherapy centre will bring to its patients are set to be showcased on the other side of the world.
Anne Sullivan, the county’s cancer manager and Macmillan lead cancer nurse, is heading to Panama in September to speak at an international conference about patient friendly radiotherapy environments.
Ms Sullivan, who has been heavily involved in the design of the centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, is one of 11 British delegates addressing the 18th International Conference on Cancer Nursing (ICCN) from September 7 to 11.
Her invite to the conference followed her extensive research as part of her MBA into how the design and physical environment of radiotherapy settings can contribute to the overall patient experience.
“Patient centred care is essential in ensuring patient well-being during their health care experiences,” Ms Sullivan said.
“To provide this type of care, we must first be able to understand the factors that influenced this experience from the patient perspective.
“I am thrilled to be sharing my learning with an international audience. Hospitals, and especially radiotherapy units, are characterised by the presence of large machines and equipment that can seem strange and impersonal to patients.
“Patients told me that the centre should be homely, comfortable, personal and friendly with a feeling of warmth. They wanted a light airy environment and contact with the outside environment, especially nature views, to help their wellbeing.
“My research also revealed that facilities that reflected normality for patients contribute to the overall experience; patients told me that they wanted access to a shop and a café area that could act as a positive distraction to help relieve the stress and boredom of being in a radiotherapy environment.”
Thanks to Ms Sullivan’s research, photographic images of serene Worcester parkscapes will help create a tranquil environment in the main reception areas of the state-of-the-art radiotherapy centre, which is set to open next January, and in the treatment rooms themselves, patients will look up to a natural ‘sky’ ceiling.
Floor to ceiling glass throughout the centre creates a light and airy feel inside the building.
The centre will also provide a café area and small shop to purchase essential items, newspapers and magazines.