The San Matteo Foundation contributes to the development of medical knowledge in Italy and worldwide. In fact, the San Matteo Foundation, cooperating with University of Pavia, is involved in biomedical research and highly skilled medical treatments, distinguishing by a marked integration between scientific research and clinical education. The Medical Oncology Division, Department of Oncology and Haematology, was established 4 years ago and over this period has gradually expanded.
The Medical Oncology Division is organized into Subunits, which share in-patient wards and outpatient clinics, including a Day Hospital and Ambulatory:
- The “Inpatient Acute Care Ward” includes by 27 beds. The inpatient setting provides access to a full range of services ascribed to an acute-care general hospital, including availability of diagnostic laboratory and imaging services, access to a range of consulting physicians, including those with expertise in interventional pain management. Four staff physicians, one coordinator nurse, 15 staff nurses and 7 healthcare workers work in this Subunit.
- The “Day Hospital” (outpatient clinic), that is opened from Monday through Friday for treatments, medications, biopsies, thoracentesis and paracentesis, monitoring of patients undergoing investigations and treatments. Three oncologists, one coordinator nurse and 8 staff nurses operate in this Subunit.
- The “Ambulatory”, in which physicians visit outpatients every day from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. In San Matteo Foundation there is also a Pain Management Unit, held by Palliative Care specialists, who visit every day, and the Psycho-Oncology Unit, where psychologists take care of Cancer patients, in all the phases of their disease, and their relatives.
- The “Supportive and Palliative Care Unit” is located in the Belgioioso Site of the Hospital, about 20 km from Pavia, and includes the Hospice, the Day Hospice and the Palliative Care Ambulatory. Once weekly an ambulatory for Palliative Care is also performed in Pavia. The Hospice includes 10 large rooms with private bathroom, and bed for relatives who will stay overnight. Both for patients and relatives lunches are guaranteed. In the hall, books, newspapers, plants and flowers help to give a comfortable aspect to the place. Here, two palliative care specialists, one coordinator nurse, 6 nurses and 8 healthcare workers operate. Moreover, a chaplain is present in this structure, offering spiritual support to the inpatients and their relatives. The Supportive and Palliative Care Day Hospice and the Ambulatory that are opened from Monday through Friday for medical examinations and supportive care for outpatients requiring less intensive treatments delivered under daytime. One oncologist and three staff nurses operate in this subunit.
From the beginning the field of activity of the Medical Oncology Division was not purely cancer therapeutic, but has included the interdisciplinary cooperation with the Supportive and Palliative Care Unit, that was created inside the same structure. In fact our mission is also to improve the understanding of factors affecting the quality of life and quality of care of cancer patients and their caregivers. Clinical Audits are periodically organized, clinical meeting are weekly planned to discuss clinical case. Therapeutics approach for selected patients is discussed at such meetings attended by the personnel of the Units involved in the treatment process. The therapeutic choices and the treatment plans, including active therapies and supportive measures, are signed jointly by the physicians from various disciplines handing the case. All these specialists share the written practical protocols approved by the Hospital.
Palliative and supportive care
The Supportive and Palliative Care Unit manages the patient requiring control and stabilization of symptoms in a terminal stage of the disease or in patients with inadequately controlled symptoms at home. In particular this Unit, an organized highly-structured system patient and family-centred, delivers care that focuses on effective management of pain and other distressing symptoms, while incorporating psychosocial and spiritual care. It carries on projects and offers tools to help cancer patients and their families to cope with the disease. The mission of the Supportive and Palliative Care Unit is to prevent and relieve suffering and to support the best possible quality of life for patients and their families. A multidisciplinary approach is guaranteed due to the close collaboration between the specialists inside the Division (oncologists and palliative care specialists work in team to offer continuity: simultaneous care) and with the other specialists of the hospital as well as with nurses and paramedical clinicians.