THUNDER BAY, NIPIGON – Health – Nipigon Chemotherapy Team serves the region. Nipigon District Memorial Hospital has provided chemotherapy to area residents ever since Regional Cancer Care Northwest began offering chemotherapy in the region about 15 years ago. Lynn Imhoff, the nursing lead with the Nipigon program, believes s that closer-to-home chemotherapy improves patient care in many ways.
“The most important thing about offering chemotherapy right here in Nipigon is the familiarity patients have with staff and their surroundings,” Imhoff says. “But there are other benefits as well – they don’t have to travel on the highways. There is also a consistency of care, which can be very reassuring to patients.”
Nipigon Chemotherapy Team
[sws_pullquote_right]Regional Cancer Care Northwest (RCC) partners closely with 13 satellite sites throughout Northwestern Ontario to provide closer-to-home chemotherapy and other cancer care services. This article is part of a series that gives an overview of regional cancer services – and how the services provide crucial support for patients [/sws_pullquote_right]
Imhoff should know – she has been the nursing lead for the program right from the beginning. She said that both her mother and her father had cancer, so she saw firsthand the value to patients of having chemotherapy in their hometown.
“I was working on the nursing floor, and they were looking for someone to spearhead the program,” Imhoff said. “I thought it was a great opportunity.”
The chemotherapy program in Nipigon is an excellent example of how smaller-volume sites work well within the hospital setting. The program operates as an outpatient clinic in the hospital’s Emergency Department, and therefore does not require any extra space or staffing. Patients receive treatment in a private and comfortable assessment room within the department.
Generally, the program in Nipigon serves their immediate catchment area including Red Rock and Dorion, but has treated patients from as far away as Beardmore. Last year, the program provided 50 chemotherapy treatments.
“The patients I see certainly like being able to stay and have their treatments here,” Imhoff said. “It’s a lot easier for them.”
The team consists of Imhoff plus three additional nurses who have chemotherapy training and who rotate into the program from other areas of the hospital. Imhoff herself also works in the Emergency Department. Dr. John Jackson-Hughes is the physician lead in Nipigon.
The program also provides other support services related to cancer care including giving injections to boost white blood cell count and doing routine tests before a round of chemotherapy to ensure the patient is well enough for treatment. Imhoff also helps arrange consultations for patients with their oncologists in Thunder Bay through Telemedicine so that they can have some of their appointments via videoconferencing, further reducing travel for patients.
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation supports chemotherapy sites throughout the region. Most recently, the Health Sciences Foundation provided funding to the Nipigon program for a special chemotherapy chair, which is much more comfortable for patients who often have to spend many hours during treatment. You can help support this and other programs directly by donating to the Health Sciences Foundation online at www.healthsciencesfoundation.ca or by calling our Donations Centre at (807) 345-HOPE (4673).