As physicians that care for cancer patients, we know our relationships are unique. Now, with the Covid-19, it’s hard to remember that every day patients are hearing those words: you have cancer. As the world swirls around our patients, we bring our knowledge, training, today’s best technology, and deliver treatment every day. And, we gently encourage patients to push back all the noise of life, to allow themselves time to focus on their own care.
We care for our patients each day for several weeks, and it’s in the bonding that we are reminded of this: each patient has a life before, during, and after their diagnosis. Our relationship is a small part of their care continuum. The continuum I refer to follows a patient from birth through end of life. It includes preventive care, medical incidents like a broken wrist from a fall, rehabilitation, and yes, serious illness like Covid-19 can be. It’s childbirth, nutrition and vaccines that keep us healthy. It may mean hospital stays for acute care, in-home care, or long-term care. Here at Turville Bay Radiation Oncology Center, as part of SSM Health Cancer Care, treatment covers a brief period of time on the continuum in each patient’s life. Our treatment helps patients with cancer and other serious illnesses at all levels and stages of care.
The Care Continuum model is like a bridge between advances in medicine and the people we care for. It guides us in the use of advanced medical technology, ensuring it is used only when appropriate. The continuum integrates seamlessly with our philosophy of patient-centered care at Turville Bay. During the patient’s time at Turville Bay they are at the center of our work, their preferences and physical comfort. We educate, listen carefully, and develop a partnership with each patient in their care.
As physicians we are trained to heal, but for some patient’s improving quality of life is their goal. It’s through patient centered care that we help patients and their family members gain control over their medical journey and find the path they are most comfortable with. We communicate constantly with their referring physician and personal physician during treatment. And, as patients return to health, we return them to their personal physician within SSM Health’s continuum of care.