Radiation therapy is delivered by some amazing technology at Turville Bay. But it’s the people caring for each patient that make all the difference. We use a method called patient centered care because we believe that skill and technology are best delivered with emotional support, physical support, the involvement of family and friends when possible, and with respect for the patient’s preferences. Radiation therapy is best given in tiny daily doses, quite strategically, often for weeks at a time. And it is this protocol that enables Turville Bay to build relationships between patients and staff. It provides us the time to better support the patient on this journey.
Over the course of treatment some close relationships develop between patients and our healthcare teams. These relationships are the engine that delivers the therapy: we listen carefully, share our knowledge and expertise, and work with the patient to gain a better understanding of their needs. We develop a treatment plan that addresses their health and their preferences. For example, an elderly patient may prefer quality of life rather than extended treatment. Another patient may want to discuss each detail of their treatment. While other patients may prefer to concentrate on their daily life through their treatment finding too much detail stressful.
We do know that all patients need a supportive environment though what that means varies between patients. Providing a variety of support right in the waiting room from adult coloring and puzzles, to a peaceful healing garden overlooking Lake Monona helps soothe worry. Developing relationships with each patient enables us to recognize issues before they become troublesome. And by working with a patient’s caregivers and family, we send our type of care home with our patient’s each day.
The National Institute of Health says, “Helping patients to be more active in consultations changes centuries of physician-dominated dialogues to those that engage patients as active participants.” And there is. Patient centered care diminishes the cognitive overload patients feel when diagnosed with a difficult disease like cancer. At Turville Bay we’ve found delivering complex and intensive therapy is best done with empathy, compassion, and personal engagement with every patient.