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History

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Program (TOHCP) was established as a fully integrated program of the Ottawa Hospital in 2002. As such, TOHCP provides outpatient and inpatient care at several sites in Ottawa as well as care across our region of ~ 18,000 km2 thus serving a population ~ 1.3 million people. The TOHCP mission aligns with that of Ottawa Hospital, aiming to provide each person affected by cancer world-class care, exceptional service and compassion that we would want for our loved ones. We provide high quality cancer care from prevention throughout the trajectory of disease (cancer assessment, treatment, support, follow up, palliative and end of life care). We have a fully integrated Supportive and Palliative Care Team that works collaboratively with other inter-professional teams in both inpatient and outpatient settings to provide care for oncology patients. 

Profile

State of the art facility offering the following services:  

  • Two outpatient cancer centre sites (Central and West Ottawa), which have chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatment units, as well as outpatient clinics in: Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Haematology Oncology, Gyne-Oncology, Supportive and Palliative Care , and Psychosocial Oncology.  
  • A regional CARE (Chronic Ascites and Recurrent Effusion) program providing outpatient care for those with malignant effusions.  
  • An inpatient acute palliative care unit providing specialized, tertiary level management of acutely symptomatic cancer patients who are not actively receiving anticancer treatments  
  • The hospital has designated Oncology inpatient units for:  
  • Medical Oncology (32 beds)  
  • Radiation Oncology (20 beds)  
  • Acute Malignant Haematology - Blood and Marrow Transplant (36 beds)  
  • Gyne-Oncology (12 beds)  
  • Acute Palliative Care (4 beds)  

Also available to our cancer patients:  

  • In addition to the Palliative Care Unit,  eight inter-professional inpatient Supportive and Palliative Care Consultation Teams are available 24/7 to assist in the management of patients admitted to any unit. The Consultation Teams are comprised by palliative-care specialist physicians, nurses, and social workers.   
  • A Psychosocial Oncology Program whose primary focus is on the alleviation of psychological distress supported by social workers, dieticians, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.  
  • Access to 10 multi-faith chaplains and clerics to offer spiritual counselling when needed.  
  • Home care services, which coordinated regionally with our community partners, through the Champlain Home and Community Care Support Services.  
  • A specialized, consultative community-based Palliative Care program (Regional Palliative Care Consultation Team) that can be accessed by Primary Care Providers (Family Doctors) to assist in caring for patients that need palliative care, regardless of disease stage and functionality.   
  • For patients that need end of life care at home, are not receiving active disease-modifying cancer treatments, and don’t have access to a Family Doctor that can provide palliative care at home, a network of regionalized specialized palliative care physician services can be activated to take on the Most Responsible Physician role in the community. Residential hospice beds are available in Ottawa (24) and some neighboring cities (Renfrew [6], Cornwall [10]).  

Specialities

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Program is a regional program. We address all disease types including haematology and have specialized expertise in interventional pulmonology, interventional pain management, minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery cyber knife technology, Supportive and Palliative Care, and Psychosocial Oncology.  

We are the tertiary referral centre in Eastern Ontario for blood and marrow transplant. 

The Cancer Assessment Clinic provides a central referral point for those patients with lung, colorectal, prostate and breast cancer. This central intake is the beginning of the patient’s journey along the continuum of care and treatment throughout the course of their disease. Supportive services are provided by both the Psychosocial Oncology and Supportive and Palliative Care Programs at any point in this continuum. 

 We view our patients holistically, placing them within the context of their family and community, offering services to family members as well. Our Supportive and Palliative Care team is comprised of Advanced Practice and specialist nurses, social workers, and specialist Palliative Care physicians. We offer continuity of care providers across inpatient and outpatient settings as well as an award winning CARE program for those with malignant effusions.  

We also work in close collaboration with the Acute Palliative Care Unit at the Ottawa Hospital, the Palliative Care Unit at and the Élisabeth Bruyere Hospital, and hospices to arrange admissions for acute palliative care crises, or provide support at the end of life for patients and families. 

 We also strive to ensure those who wish to die at home receive the required home care services under the care of their family physician through the Champlain Home and Community Care Support Services as well as the Regional Palliative Care Consultation Team. When there is no family physician involved, our partners in the regionalized Specialist Palliative Care Services can be accessed to take on the role of most responsible physician in the community. 

Palliative and Supportive Care

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Our Supportive and Palliative Care Team actively promotes care for patients with distressing symptoms, not only for those at the end-of-life or with very advanced disease. Our philosophy states that “Palliative Care is active care that is for the living and starts at the date of diagnosis” Many of our patients are still receiving treatment to control and even cure their disease. Our focus is on improving their quality of life by managing distressing symptoms, addressing psychosocial, practical and spiritual issues, providing advice and support for goals of care discussions, and helping with advance care planning, grief and bereavement. Supportive and Palliative Care in the TOHCP is based on an inter‐professional approach to care in close collaboration with colleagues across the entire region to provide seamless care close to home. 

The SPC team works in collaboration with oncologists and other health care professionals in both inpatient and outpatient settings. This continuous collaboration provides better care for our patients and their varying needs. Our SPC Team is also closely connected with hospices and community services to ensure smooth transitions of care.

Last update: December 2021

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