KEEPING TREATMENTS LOCAL: Janene Shelton and Karen Trotman administer the first chemotherapy treatment at Warwick Hospital to patient Heather Schillings.
KEEPING TREATMENTS LOCAL: Janene Shelton and Karen Trotman administer the first chemotherapy treatment at Warwick Hospital to patient Heather Schillings. Nicole Zurcas

Cancer patients rejoice as chemotherapy comes to Warwick

WARWICK Hospital is improving services for cancer patients with staff are now able to administer chemotherapy treatments, saving patients from travelling to Toowoomba.

Heather Schillings was the first resident to complete a treatment of chemotherapy at Warwick yesterday.

A regular patient at the mobile health service, Mrs Schillings was shocked by her breast cancer diagnosis last October.

Starting her treatments in Toowoomba from January, Mrs Schillings has clocked a lot of kilometres.

"Just about every day I was driving to Toowoomba for chemotherapy and radiation,” she said.

The cost of driving and time searching for parks was taking its toll on Mrs Schillings.

The Warwick Lions Club member was a successful candidate to receive treatments in Warwick.

Nurse navigator of cancer care Janene Shelton said this was a great achievement for the region.

"The purpose of lobbying to have this treatment in Warwick was about delivering more care locally,” Mrs Shelton said.

Hospital staff have championed the proposal to bring chemotherapy to Warwick for the past year.

Mrs Shelton's role was to assist in the coordination and communication between staff and stakeholders.

"The hospital already had a fully-functioning day unit which we are now using for the chemotherapy treatments,” she said.

"It was my role to liaise with staff, medical professions, pharmacists and governing bodies to ensure the correct procedures were being met.”

The hospital is now a recognised stage-one chemotherapy facility, which enables it to administer single-agent treatments of low toxic drugs, of low risk and reaction, to stable patients.

"It's the beginner stage to greater things,” Mrs Shelton said.

"We are selecting specific clients who must be currently undertaking treatment in Toowoomba.”

IMPROVED SERVICES: Nurse navigator, Janene Shelton administering the first chemotherapy treatment at Warwick Hospital to patient Heather Schilling.
IMPROVED SERVICES: Nurse navigator, Janene Shelton administering the first chemotherapy treatment at Warwick Hospital to patient Heather Schilling. Nicole Zurcas

Four nurses in Warwick underwent oncology training to conduct the cancer treatment.

Registered nurse Karen Trotman, who completed the training, said it would open opportunities for the community.

"Patients will receive the same quality treatment without the distance,” she said.

"This will benefit them on their recovery journey, as they will be closer to their family and friends for support.”

Receiving treatments once every three weeks, doctors have been pleased with Mrs Schilling's results and said it wouldn't be long until she was back, tongs in hand, behind the Lions club barbecue.

Residents who are being treated in Toowoomba can speak to their oncologist to see if they are fit for treatments in Warwick.



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