My Care Binder Supports Cancer Patients throughout Journey
A cancer diagnosis is likely to evoke an overwhelming amount of emotions. During this time, patients and their families will differ in the amount of information they want to know. For some, they may wish to know all of the details and seek out additional information independently. Others may initially choose to know less, but as time passes, they may wish to know more details about their diagnosis and care. To put it simply, there is no ‘one size fits all’ education prescription to meet the informational needs of patients and families.
The My Care Binder was designed to act as a guide for patients and their families across the cancer care continuum. The binder provides a place to record information, write down questions, learn about the supportive care services available, and organize educational resources they will collect along the way. Each patient receives a My Care Binder upon their first visit to the London Regional Cancer Program (LRCP), regardless of where their cancer care will be delivered (London or region).
The Binders were introduced at LRCP in 2012. Based on staff and patient feedback, the My Care Binder was recently refreshed and updated to include more streamlined information, support for inpatients, and resources to assist in the transition after treatment. In addition, a “care close to home” section is being developed to include information about each hospital in the region that provides chemotherapy treatment. This section will be added to the binders later this summer.
"When I initially started my cancer journey, there was so much information to learn and retain, I found the binder a welcome resource. I could take my time to absorb information that I needed to know by going back to the binder to refresh my memory of things that I had been told but could not remember. I could also keep notes and other pamphlets I had been given in the binder, allowing me to have easy access to a myriad of useful information in one place. The information and illustrations also familiarized me with the procedures and equipment I would be subjected to but in such a way that it helped me to overcome some of the 'fear of the unknown' that comes with such a journey." – Susan (patient)
Patients are encouraged to bring the My Care Binder with them to each visit. Patients who receive treatment in the region are encouraged to bring the binder with them to each appointment. . The binders are distributed inside a tote bag to allow patients to easily bring their binder, medications or other information to and from each appointment.
If patients forget their My Care Binder at home, there are two stations set up at the London Regional Cancer Program (level 1 and level 2) where stationary copies of the My Care Binder are located. A copy can also be accessed in the LRCP Patient & Family Library.
It is hoped that the My Care Binder will help to alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to stay organized during a chaotic time.