Joining forces to support cancer patients in Alberta

October 30, 2023


Wellspring is proud to show up as a valuable community cancer support resource on the Alberta Health Services (AHS) website, recently redesigned as a one-stop shop to help doctors and healthcare providers see what’s available in the community, so they can steer patients toward viable resources to help them live well with cancer and beyond.

“The new page on the website was developed with funding by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. We formed a council and invited community partners to the table, so we could add a section to help address a gap in processes that would help physicians find community resources for their cancer patients during and after treatment. We are very proud of the outcome,” said Dr. Linda Watson, Executive Director, Supportive Care Services and Patient Experience, Cancer Care Alberta, Alberta Health Services.

For Wellspring, participating in the Living Well After Cancer Advisory Council informed the new Community Supportive Care Resources tab on the website, was very meaningful.

“Being invited to this Council was a huge win for Wellspring. We often hear people say they wish they had known about Wellspring sooner. This collaboration really helps with our awareness efforts, and it signals to Primary Care physicians that Wellspring is a safe, reputable, free organization they can refer their cancer patients and caregivers to,” said Sheena Clifford, COO, Wellspring Alberta.

Dr. Watson’s motive for leaning into community partnerships for this project was propelled by her comprehensive background in supportive cancer care, and her extensive research of patients and their needs.

“Part of what we know about the cancer patient experience is that it’s holistic – patients have a whole range of needs; some are biomedical, like getting the most effective treatment for their disease, but there are other needs, including emotional, nutritional, functional and informational that must be addressed to help them live well with and beyond cancer.

“The Cancer program has in-house professional supportive care resources and programs, but not all people need that level of support. We need to partner with our community support services because some patients who have less complex supportive care needs may have their needs met by supportive care resources in the community. By partnering effectively, we can collectively build capacity to meet the supportive care needs of more patients,” said Dr. Watson.

Clifford could not agree more, and adds that now that Wellspring has changed its delivery model to include a comprehensive online community as well as the in-person experience, Wellspring is in a position to support cancer patients and caregivers across the province.

“I think Wellspring plays an important part in our supportive care ecosystem in Alberta because we know that the number of Albertans facing cancer is growing. Partnering with the community to ensure patients get the right level of care, at the right time, in the right location, for the issues they are having, is ultimately going to benefit us all, in the healthcare system, in the community sector, and our patients and their families” said Dr. Watson.

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