Abu Dhabi: New cancer centre to involve patients in developing services

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Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - The hospital said on Tuesday that it was on schedule with the construction of the 10-floor cancer facility.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Mon 30 Aug 2021, 4:23 PM

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi will be opening its purpose-built cancer centre next year and patients are being consulted to refine the services that will be offered and provide feedback on tailored care.

The hospital said on Tuesday that it was on schedule with the construction of the 10-floor cancer facility, modelled on Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center in the US, which is set to bring an integrated and transformative approach to diagnosing and treating the disease to the region.

The 19,000 square-meter centre will have 24 exam rooms, 24 infusion rooms, two procedure rooms, and an area devoted to specialty women’s oncology services.

“For a long time in healthcare, we have been designing services with the consultation of physicians, without involving the patient in the decision-making process. When the Taussig Cancer Center was being built, Cleveland Clinic decided to engage actual patients and create programmes and systems around their needs,” said Dr Stephen R. Grobmyer, chair of the Oncology Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Grobmyer added: “We are applying the same lessons in the building of our cancer centre in Abu Dhabi, with the recognition that every community has geographical and cultural differences and patients should have a say in how they want to be supported.

“We have regular focused group discussions with our patients and their families about their experience at the hospital and survey them to continually assess the quality and access to cancer care and develop the next set of services to better support patients here.”

Adopting a patient-and family-centered approach to care, the oncology institute has established a Patient and Family Advisory Council, a specific group of cancer patients, survivors or their families, to receive direct and ongoing feedback on how to enhance cancer treatments and care. Discussions include how to design patient care areas, floor plan layouts, workflows and even the development of initiatives and patient-related wellness programmes.

Dr Nicole Sirotin, the chair of Preventive Medicine in the Medical Subspecialties Institute, said the cancer centre will have a Centre for Healthier Living, which is currently being piloted with a group of breast cancer patients. This will be the first evidence-based lifestyle medicine programme to be completely integrated with traditional cancer care in the region.

“In a patient survey that we conducted earlier this year, we found that more than 71 per cent were interested in fitness and nutrition-related support and 80 per cent said they would like sleep counselling,” said Sirotin.

“Data also shows that with dedicated exercise and adopting a Mediterranean diet, we can reduce the risk of recurrence of the disease by 45 per cent, particularly in patients with breast and colon cancer. A lot of this research, as well as our patients’ suggestions, is informing how we are moving forward with our cancer care.”

The pilot programme aims to provide nutritional, exercise and psychological support to ensure the patients’ mental and physical wellbeing before and after the various cancer treatments. After that, they will be put on a team-based lifestyle medicine programme that includes consultations and follow ups with a dietician, sports and exercise physiologist, and a behavioral and mental health expert to reduce the risk of recurrence of cancer and other metabolic diseases.

Dr Sirotin pointed out that the initial results of the pilot programme are very promising. The multidisciplinary team has helped one patient quit smoking, while supporting another to lose about 4kg in the last three months.


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