Home town treatment now offered


DIABETES and skin cancer patients in the Far North can now have more treatment in their home town rather than having to travel away, thanks to the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation.
Foundation CEO Tony Franz said the charity bought almost $88,000 worth of equipment for Cooktown, Atherton and Innisfail Hospitals.
Diabetes equipment provided to each of Cooktown and Atherton hospitals will mean less need for patients to travel to Cairns for treatment they can have in their home town.
As well, a skin grafting machine for Innisfail Hospital, funded by the Innisfail Friends of the Foundation, will allow patients to have skin grafts there, rather than having to travel to a larger centre.
Mr Franz said the equipment, at a total value of $87,724, was a result of fundraising and commercial activities by the Foundation and its volunteers. “We’ve contributed $13 million to improving health services in the past 20 years and this is a great way we can improve outcomes for patients in the region.”
Cooktown Renal Service Nurse Unit Manager Karen Coad said the Sonosite Turbo had been an awesome addition to their unit. “This amazing little piece of machinery makes the lives of our patients a lot easier. When their veins become difficult to cannulate, our brand new Sonosite means we may be able to prevent unnecessary travel to Cairns for our patients. It is really good for us – I use it on up to four patients a day.”
Atherton Renal Satellites and Home Therapies acting Nurse Unit Manager Karen Brown said the equipment enables nurses to monitor veins on site, rather than the patient having to travel to Cairns for further investigation. “Patients with difficult cannulation often have to present to Cairns. With the aid of ultrasound guidance, the patient will be able to remain in Atherton. In short it will enable patients to remain in their centre of care and not have to travel or put a strain on the Cairns unit. It also prevents damage to fistula’s through improving success rates on needling and enables the nurse to identify problems that may interfere with dialysis before they become a problem. Early detection leads to less invasive treatments for the patient. We are feeling very lucky to have such amazing community support and are grateful for this amazing piece of equipment which will change the patient journey in such a positive way.”
Innisfail Hospital Theatre Nurse Unit Manager Donna Low said that due to public awareness of skin cancers, staff were seeing an increase in patient numbers who need surgery.
“Our new Zimmer Air Dermatome allows the surgeon to preform skin grafting to skin cancer with minimal disturbance therefore helping the healing process. Currently patients are often required to travel to a larger centre, to have their procedures performed, when we now are unable to provide a service locally,” Ms Low said.

Photo: Tolga patient Patricia Santacaterina receiving treatment with the new piece of equipment at Atherton Hospital.

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