The neuro-oncology unit was established at the Eugène Marquis Centre to support patients with brain tumours and their friends and families during their treatment.
Head of support care department: Dr Elodie Vauléon
The neuro-oncology unit was established at the Centre in 2016 and is the only unit of its kind in Brittany. Its aim is to support patients with brain tumours and their friends and families during their treatment, from the moment of diagnosis to the provision of palliative care, if required.
The unit comprises two medical oncologists, two radiotherapists, the head of the interdisciplinary oncological patient support care department (DISSPO) [Département Interdisciplinaire des Soins de Support pour le Patient en Oncologie] and a specialist neuro-oncology nurse. Its members are also part of the Brittany Neuro-Oncology Society (SNOB) [Société de Neuro-Oncologie Bretonne].
At the patient’s first consultation with their oncologist or radiotherapist, they are given a contact file. This file allows care providers at the Eugène Marquis Centre and external care providers (the patient’s general practitioner, independent nurses, physiotherapists, speech therapists, etc.) to communicate with one another, thereby supporting collaboration between internal and external healthcare providers.
Patients are asked to keep all information received during their care in the file and to bring it to all consultations, either at the hospital or with external care providers, so that their care team can keep track of all communications. Patients and their loved ones can also write questions in the file so that they remember to ask the doctor about them at the next consultation.
Patients are offered a support consultation with the neuro-oncology nurse a few days after their medical consultation in order to reassess their needs and recommend any human or material support that may be required.
Patients also have a consultation with one of the Centre’s pharmacists to explain the way in which their treatment will work and the side effects it may have, and to make sure that there will be no interactions between the patient’s usual medications and the cancer treatment. The patient is given a patient booklet, as well as the patient form published by the Medications, Medical Devices and Therapy Innovation Observatory (OMEDIT) [Observatoire des Médicaments, Dispositifs Médicaux et Innovations Thérapeutiques], which are stored in the patient’s contact file.The OMEDIT form for professionals is sent to the patient’s general practitioner.
For patients receiving oral chemotherapy, the neuro-oncology nurse will call the patient on a weekly basis to check how they are responding to the treatment and to answer any questions that they or their carers may have. This will continue throughout the first three months of treatment.
Workshops (known as AGAPE) are available, as required, for family, friends and carers to give them the confidence needed to better support their loved one. These group workshops, with space for five to eight carers from different families, are led by an oncologist, assisted by a healthcare professional (the neuro-oncology nurse or the head of the oncology patient support care department (DISSPO)). The first workshop provides information about the disease, the symptoms, the treatments and what to do in an emergency. Carers are given a file containing a guide for carers in which they can store all the information provided. The second workshop identifies the human and material resources available to carers at the Eugène Marquis Centre and externally. During the third workshop, carers come together to talk about their lived experiences, the challenges faced and their lives in general. As everyone is unique, all carers experience their loved one’s illness in a different way.
Therapeutic patient education workshops are currently being developed.
A multi-disciplinary meeting on neuro-oncology is held every month with members of the neuro-oncology unit (oncologists, radiotherapists, the head of the oncology patient support care department and the specialist neuro-oncology nurse) to discuss the treatment of patients with complex or problematic care needs with the members of the oncology patient support care department (DISSPO) (social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, etc.) and sometimes external care providers (independent nurses, etc.), with the aim to adapt the care provided at the patient’s home so as to meet the patient’s and their carers’ needs.