Oncology Day Care

Level 9, Inpatients and Outpatients Facilities

  • Telephone: 01273 696955 Extension 2433/2434
  • Fax: 01273 523132
  • Ward Manager: Helen Silk
  • Head of Nursing : Lorraine Tinker

Paediatric Oncology Shared Care Unit (POSCU)

  • Lead Clinician: Dr A. Davidson
  • Deputy Lead Clinician: Dr Catherine Wynne
  • Lead Cancer Nurse: Helen Lee
  • Oncology Ward Nurse: Nicola Huxter
  • Pharmacist: Shani Corb
  • NHS – Employed Member: Sophie Braker
  • MDT Co-ordinator: Hayley Southon
  • Contact: Helen Lee: 01273 696955 Ext 2424 (Bleep 8637)

The Oncology Day Care ward is located on Level 9 of the Alex, adjacent to the Medical Ward. It is a safe and secure area and has its own entrance and exit so that children and young people who are immuno-suppressed and at risk of infection do not come into contact with patients on the main Medical Ward.

Access to the ward is strictly controlled by a video entry system for visitors and by electronic card access for staff who have access rights for the ward. In addition, the entrances to the ward are monitored 24 hours a day by video cameras linked to our security control room. All of this ensures that children remain in a safe environment whilst in the care of the teams on the ward.

The ward is a large and spacious four-bed room with an ensuite bathroom. The ward is operational between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. It is supported by a compliment of highly experienced paediatric nursing, surgical, medical and allied healthcare professionals, all of whom specialise in the care of children and young people with cancer.

Children and young people who require a hospital admission for ongoing care are admitted to the Medical Ward on the same floor. Again children who are at risk of infection are nursed in the single room facilities on the Medical Ward or, if necessary, in one of the isolation rooms.

The approach to care is family centred, providing a comfortable and therapeutic environment. Care is provided in partnership with the individual child or young person, and their family or carers. The ward is supported by dedicated play specialists who will spend time with children and young people during their stay. To support their work, the ward has a dedicated play room.

All beds have a television allowing children and young people access to a range of channels, from children’s programmes, to documentaries, films, sport, and news, as well as music and DVDs.

The installation of pull-down day beds in all of the children’s rooms enables one parent to stay with their child during the day. Parents and carers also have their own lounge area and kitchen facilities. Parents can use the quiet rooms on the ward to meet privately with nurses and doctors to talk about their child, or for quiet reflection.

The Alex was one of the first units in the South East to establish a shared care oncology service for child cancer patients. The shared care team includes three chemotherapy trained nurses, a specialist oncology nurse, a CLIC Sargent funded social worker and community clinical nurse, and a dedicated pharmacist. An arts psychotherapist, play specialist, physiotherapist and dietician provide further support.

This team provides care for children with cancer who live locally, in partnership with regional centres such as Southampton, the Royal Marsden Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The paediatric oncology service is currently classified as a Level 2 shared care unit however the Alex is aiming to develop this to a Level 3 service. A second consultant post with an interest in paediatric oncology was appointed in July 2008. This will enable the expanding service to deliver the requirements for a Level 3 POSCU unit, improving sub-speciality cross-cover, delivering services for adolescents according to National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance for children and young people with cancer, and developing clinical research and audit. It is also anticipated that palliative care, late effects and transitional care services will benefit.

The team works together with families and patients to provide a comprehensive and supportive service, both within the hospital and at home. Where possible, children are seen in the community to allow them to continue with their normal life as much as possible.

Mealtimes on the ward are protected times for children and young people. The menus are carefully chosen to be nutritious and feature food that children will recognise and eat. Vegetarian options are provided and, as the food is prepared on the ward, the hostess staff will try to provide something that a child would prefer if it is not on the menu.

The entire nursing, surgical and medical team works collaboratively to ensure that the children of Sussex and Kent are afforded the highest quality of care so that they can recover and return home to their families as soon as possible. The Children’s Community Nursing Team works closely with the team to provide care and nursing support at home once the child has been discharged from the Alex.

For more information on cancer treatment please click the link here