St Luke’s Hospital, Rathgar
The Friends of St Luke’s Cancer Care supporting
St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network
Since it opened in May 1954, St Luke’s Hospital in Rathgar, Dublin 6, has been caring for cancer patients from all over Ireland. St Luke’s is dedicated to being a world class leader in cancer treatment, patient care, research and education. The St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network operates from three locations – St. Luke’s Hospital, Rathgar, Dublin and St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Units, which opened in March 2011 in St James’s and Beaumont Hospitals.
In striving for this excellence, the holistic needs of its patients and their families are its greatest concern.
Why raise funds for St Luke’s? Funds raised will go towards the treatment of children and teenagers
St Luke’s Radiology Oncology Hospital is Ireland’s only provider of paediatric radiation and oncology treatments for children and adolescents. Patients and their families travel from every county in Ireland, spending five days a week for a period of six weeks receiving treatment. Between 40 – 50 children and young adolescents are treated in St Luke’s each year for Brain Tumours, Carcinomas, Neuroblastomas and Wilms’ Tumours. Children from one up to 18 years of age are treated as outpatients in the Rathgar Hospital in Dublin and travel to St Luke’s daily from other children’s hospitals in Dublin.
Each patient needs to remain completely still during treatment which lasts from between 5 and 20 minutes, and this can be difficult for the young patients. Play Therapists accompany some children from their hospital. They play simulation games to prepare them for the radiation treatment and the game of statues is often used to encourage children to stay still during treatment. In a number of special cases very young children have to go under general anaesthetic every day they have their treatment, and it can take up to three hours to fully recover from the anaesthetic before the child and their family member(s) can leave the hospital. Again, this can be distressing for the children and their families; however the children tend to bounce back pretty well afterwards. Side effects of treatment can include fatigue, nausea and growth complications.
Children and adolescents were sharing the same waiting space with adult patients. The area had little privacy for the patient or family. The young patients could made feel uncomfortable and self-conscious unintentionally by adults who often ask questions about their cancer or/ and treatment. This was even more difficult for young patients who may have had an amputation or disfigurement as part of their treatment. The teenage patients tend to avoid the waiting areas and wait to be called for treatment via text message so they don’t have to speak to anyone. This was all adding extra stress to patients, both young and old, as they were already feeling vulnerable and could be experiencing side effects from treatment like fatigue and nausea.
The Friends of St Luke’s raised funds to pay for the refurbishment of two separate spaces which have dramatically improved patient and family experiences at St Luke’s Rathgar. St Luke’s Hospital provides radiotherapy treatment to children coming from across the country. The Children’s area has all the latest toys suitable for the younger patients with a recovery area and facilities for tea/coffee making. The Adolescent’s Room has all the latest technology and is a real “chill out” space for teenagers.