Onco-Geriatric service provides specialised care for cancer patients
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne established the Onco-Geriatric service in August 2021 in collaboration with Goulburn Valley Health, with an aim to offer customised, holistic care to older people with cancer. The service provides care to patients both from Goulburn Valley Health and from St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne. Regional patients access the service closer to home through telehealth which means they don’t need to travel long distances. Telehealth is also available as an option for patients based in Melbourne if preferred.
The service aims to improve outcomes by optimising patients’ general health and assisting the patient and their Oncology team with decisions about their cancer treatment based on a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment. This model of care is now recognised as international best practice.
What is a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment?
Patients are seen by a Geriatrician who performs a comprehensive assessment to understand the patient’s general health status and identify whether any interventions or supports are required. In turn, this assists patients and families to make decisions about treatment, in consultation with their Oncology team, General Practitioner and other health care providers.
Patient domains commonly assessed in a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment
How does the consultation help you?
Based on the assessment, the Geriatrician may make recommendations for your ongoing treatment and organise referrals to other clinicians such as a social worker, dietitian, psychologist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist, if required.
The Geriatrician will link in with your treating doctors, including your Oncologist and General Practitioner about the plan. The Geriatrician will also help you and your specialist decide about chemotherapy options. The overall goal is to improve your wellbeing and ability to cope with day to day life during your cancer care by assessing and finding opportunities to improve mobility, memory and independence, offering support to you and your family during this time.
How to get a referral for the consultation and is there a cost?
A GP referral is required and so, once it is identified that you would benefit, the Cancer Centre staff will liaise with your GP to obtain the referral and organise an appointment for you to see the Geriatrician. You will not have any out of pocket expense.
What do you need to bring to the appointment?
- List of your current medications
- A friend or family member, if you wish (this can be very helpful)
- Copies of your recent scans or blood results if you have them
The Service offers face to face or telehealth consultations each week.
Wednesday 1:30 to 5pm
Thursday 1:30 to 5pm (Telehealth for Goulburn Valley Health patients only)
Dr James Mahon, Consultant Geriatrician
Cancer Centre Level 1, Daly Wing, Building D
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne
41 Victoria Parade Fitzroy VIC 3065
You can contact the Cancer Centre by phone on 9231 3155/3156 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org