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History

The Division of Oncology was founded in 1992 as part of the Department of Internal Medicine and since then offers the whole spectrum of modern diagnostics and evidence based therapy for adult patients with solid tumours. In the early 1990s the ward was rebuilt by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who created an atmosphere of security by utilizing bright, warm and vivid colors, light and plants. The Unit of Palliative Medicine as affiliated unit to the Division of Oncology was founded in 2001 as the first palliative ward including a palliative consulting service for patients in Austria.

Profile

  • The center consists of two separate wards, which are located in the University Hospital of Graz. The first ward belongs to the Division of Oncology at the Department of Internal Medicine with a number of 27 beds. The second ward is the ward of the Unit of Palliative Medicine with 12 beds, from which 4 are single-bed rooms and 4 rooms are double bed rooms.
  • The interdisciplinary team at the Division of Oncology consists of 22 physicians, 4 psychologists, 39 nurses and 10 secretaries whereas the interdisciplinary team at the Unit of Palliative Medicine has 8 physicians, 1 psychologists, 2 physical therapist, 28 nurses, 2 secretaries and 1 social workers.
  • Both wards are equipped with the standard technical equipment for internal medicine wards in Austria (e.g. ultrasound machines, monitoring systems, ECG ...).
  • The Division of Oncology has an outpatient clinic as well, which takes care of about 90-110 patients per day.
  • The patients have access to inpatient services, such as the palliative consulting service and the 2 wards and outpatient services such as the Mobile Palliative Team and the outpatient clinic from the Division of Oncology. Psychologists, physical therapists and social workers are integral parts in both services. Furthermore, since this integrated center is part of the University Hospital of Graz, patients have rapid access to all different departments if needed.

Specialities

The centralized management of the Division of Oncology and the Unit of Palliative Medicine by one head of these two institutes guarantees integrated oncology and palliative care. As soon as the need of a patient for palliative care has been recognized by the oncologist, he/she has to request a consultation of a specialist for palliative care. Either this consultation will result in professional palliative care support by specific recommendations or, if necessary, the patient will be admitted to the affiliated Unit of Palliative Medicine and will receive in-patient treatment. Additionally, the patient has the possibility to register for home care support by the “Mobile Palliative Team”, which to date is free of charge for all patients. Since the beginning of the Division of Oncology and the Unit of Palliative Medicine are integral parts of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Graz, as well.

Palliative and supportive care

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It is of the utmost importance to us that our patients with progressive course of disease are visited and treated by specialists of the Unit of Palliative Medicine while they are still receiving tumour-specific therapy at the Division of Oncology. In case of a later transfer to the Palliative Care Unit the patients are already familiar with the physicians of this unit. 

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Furthermore, palliative care is necessary as a logical consequence in patient management when there are no further tumour specific treatment options available or the patient is in too bad condition to receive further anti-tumour-therapy. Patients also have the opportunity to receive best professional palliative support in their dying phase. This support is necessary for outpatients as well and has to be accessible at all times. Our center attempts to meet this claim by a 24-hour on-call-duty of the “Mobile Palliative Team”. 

Last update: November 2020

Medical University Graz, Division of Oncology with affiliated Unit of Palliative Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Graz, Austria

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