Cancer treatment can be one of the most exhausting emotional and physical experiences, both for the person living with it, and for their family.
Now imagine the added anxiety and complexity of needing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that exhausting experience has just become even more challenging.
While cancer care teams across Interior Health have worked tirelessly to protect these vulnerable patients, Dr. Phillip Malpass, a community oncologist from Nelson, realized he could take additional steps to support his patients while being mindful of COVID-19 precautions. He quickly pivoted his care model to incorporate virtual care for some of his patients.
“As physicians, we always strive to bring care closer to home. Virtual technology allows us to bring that care right to patients – in the comfort of their community, and in the comfort of their home,” says Dr. Malpass.
Although exploring and expanding options for virtual care is not a new concept in Interior Health, the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has quickly moved the concept to the forefront for care providers across the region.
The option of virtual appointments allows Dr. Malpass’ patients the option of having additional family members or caregivers also participate in appointments – increasing their comfort and allowing them the support they need, when they need it.
It’s all about removing obstacles to care, he says. Because of technology, his patients (especially those in rural areas) are able to reduce travel, save time, and spend less effort and money getting to appointments. These things can make a significant impact on people who may be feeling unwell, and impacts families already struggling to provide care and emotional support.
Beyond patient visits, Dr. Malpass also uses virtual technology to connect with the multidisciplinary team with whom he meets regularly. This allows the team to collaborate and provide a cohesive circle of care for people living with cancer, all while observing social and physical distancing and keeping safe themselves.
Dr. Malpass’ commitment to the virtual approach is more comfortable for patients and for staff – and it’s resulting in safe, quality oncology care in the Nelson area.