Ancillary Health Services at SKMCH&RC, Lahore
Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) is a tertiary care cancer centre which provides comprehensive cancer services.
Ancillary Health Services at SKMCH&RC, Lahore currently include Clinical Psychology, Clinical Nutrition, Physiotherapy and Play Therapy.
The aim of ancillary services is to provide support to and supplement our clinical services, so as to ensure patients receive comprehensive medical care.
SKMCH&RC, Lahore has a fully developed clinical psychology service working for the psychological health and mental rehabilitation of our cancer patients. Psychologists provide services in in-patient and out-patient settings. One of the exclusive features of this department is that it not only provides these services to our cancer patients but also caters to the psychological needs of the families of these patients.
Clinical psychologists deal with the assessment and management of all the turbulent emotions that accompany the diagnosis and active treatment of cancer, as well as issues around end of life care and cancer survivors. They also provide bereavement services and support groups in the form of individual therapy, group and family therapy/ sessions.
Our clinical psychologists are also involved in teaching, training, stress management and well-being sessions for employees.
Clinical nutritionists monitor, assess, and optimize nutritional status based on the patient’s current medical condition. They confer with physicians and other healthcare professionals to coordinate medical and nutritional needs, and make recommendations for enteral and parenteral feeding. Clinical nutritionists teach patients how to make nutritionally sound food choices to speed up the recovery process.
We have a fully developed Clinical Nutrition service at SKMCH&RC, Lahore which deals with cancer as well as non-cancer patients. Our clinical nutritionists run daily clinics and review patients as per need to ensure individual diet plans are made for every patient referred to them.
Physiotherapists play a key role in the holistic management of patients. Within the context of cancer, the primary goal of rehabilitation is to assist the patient in achieving maximum physical functioning within the limits imposed by disease or treatment.
All patients are unique and therefore it is important to have an individualized program to mark their progression and improvement. The aim of rehabilitation is to improve the patient’s quality of life and to restore, optimize and maintain the patient’s functional ability, regardless of the trajectory of their illness.
Physiotherapists provide inpatient and outpatient care. This includes exercise prescription, neurological rehabilitation, lymphedema management, post-mastectomy physiotherapy, paediatric rehabilitation, and orthopaedic rehabilitation.
SKMCH&RC, Lahore has a well-equipped physiotherapy department that includes shortwave diathermy (SWD), ultrasonic therapy, hydro collators, pneumatic compression pump (PCP) to treat lymphedema, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS) and interferential current (IFC) therapy.
Play Therapists & Hospital Teacher:
Play therapists help create a friendly environment for children seeking care at the hospital. They engage children in play activities to divert their attention from the discomfort of their treatment. This helps children settle down in the hospital environment without fear.
Play therapists at SKMCH&RC, Lahore organize regular events for children on- and post-treatment such as carnivals and other activities.
Our play room is equipped with computers, audio-visual aids and games to help children relax. It also gives some relief to the accompanying parents whilst their children enjoy the activities organized by the playroom.
We have a mobile library that goes around the hospital twice a day to encourage children to read, write and colour in their rooms, if due to their treatment or clinical condition they are unable to come to the playroom.
The Hospital Teacher works in close collaboration with the play therapists and runs a hospital schooling programme. Children who have never been to school before and are admitted to SKMCH&RC for treatment are introduced to a basic curriculum of the level expected of a 5 year old school-going child. Children who enrol in this programme are then taught by the hospital teacher and their parents are encouraged to continue the education of their child in local schools, following completion of treatment.
Children who were going to school prior to treatment can also be enrolled in this programme, in which case the teacher requests coursework from the child’s usual school, which can be completed whilst the child is under treatment, under the supervision of the hospital teacher.
We currently have one speech and language therapist working at SKMCH&RC, Lahore. The therapist receives referrals for children and adults, admitted as inpatients, for bedside assessments and also sees patients in the outpatient clinic for follow up sessions. Referrals include patients with:
- Dysphagia: When concerns are related to weak swallowing and the patient is at high risk for aspiration. Dysphagia is a main concern for patients being treated for head and neck cancers.
- Speech output devices, recommended post-laryngectomy g. electrolarynx
- Speech fluency concerns, such as dysarthria and stammering
- Dysphonia: Voice quality problems related to treatment for cancer
- Cognitive-communication difficulties, including limited memory skills, comprehension of language or attention levels related to a stroke or underlying medical disease
- Aphasia (language loss) or apraxia (motor planning difficulties)
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PHYSICIANS
Physicians and nurses working in SKMCH&RC work closely with the ancillary services. This gives them a chance to acquire basic skills related to these disciplines and improves teamwork.
Throughout the year, we provide supervision to MBBS students and those specializing in clinical psychology nationwide and internationally.
An electives program is offered at SKMCH&RC for physiotherapy students. The selected students have an excellent opportunity to see the full range of cancer patients.
An elective program is offered at SKMCH&RC for students studying nutrition in their final year.