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  • Clinical Dietician

     

    kliniki diaitologos

     

    Nutrition is the process during which the body uses food to grow, be healthy and replenish its tissues. Good nutrition predisposes towards good health. But when, for any reason, the body cannot absorb the necessary nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and trace elements), malnutrition occurs.

    The benefits of the Clinical Dietician service

    Medical nutrition therapy helps patients receive the nutrients they need, depending on the diagnosis and the treatment they will receive, in order to maintain a strong body. Many studies have shown that a body receiving proper nutrition and the necessary calories and protein, responds better to treatment and enjoys a better quality of life. An increasing number of studies associate the quality of nutrition and body weight with cancer. At the time of the diagnosis and/or during their treatment, many patients have nutrition-related symptoms/side effects which, if not identified and addressed early, can easily lead to malnutrition. These symptoms include, amongst others, lack of appetite, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling of sickness and vomiting.

    The clinical dietician participates in the multidisciplinary teams. The purpose of the team is to offer a holistic approach in addressing both the cancer and the patient.

     

    Personalised plan for each patient

    The referral of a patient by the doctor to the clinical dietician is followed by:

    • Nutritional assessment.
    • Body measurements.
    • Creation of nutritional plan and/or dietary instructions based on the specific needs of each patient. The socioeconomic status and the nutritional habits of the patient are always taken into consideration.
    • Training of the patient and his/her caregivers in the implementation of the nutritional plan and the dietary instructions.
    • Planning of appointment for the further assessment of the patient.

     

    Objective:

    • To treat any symptoms/side effects of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.
    • To maintain or adjust the patient’s body weight.
    • To decrease cancer cachexia.
    • To prescribe dietary supplements, if deemed necessary.
    • To ensure that patients fed either through a tube (e.g. nasogastric tube, gastrostomy or jejunostomy) or parenterally receive comprehensive nutrition aiming to maintain or adjust their body weight.
    • To provide training on comprehensive healthy nutrition for cancer survivors.

     

    Clinical Dietician services at the Center

    Clinical Dietician Ms Stalo Kountouri offers clinical dietician services at the Oncology Centre to both inpatients and outpatients, every Tuesday and Friday. The assessment by the Centre’s clinical dietician may be made before, during and/or after treatment, following consultations with the medical, nursing and paramedical staff, in order to ensure the patient receives quality nutrition.

     

    How can I make an appointment?

    You can ask your doctor for a direct referral or call 22847411 to make an appointment.

  • Psychological support (Counselling)

    psixologiki_ipostirixi

    What are Counselling Services?

    The counselling services of the Oncology Centre consist of individual and/or family sessions with patients and their relatives and friends. Following an initial assessment of the required support, the patient may also, if deemed necessary, be referred to other mental health professionals. Collaboration with the mental health services of the associations is very close and ongoing. Everything that is discussed with the psychologist is completely confidential. The psychologist does not provide medical information.

     

    Psychological effects of cancer

    Each individual and each family react in a very personal way and gather up all their strength to adjust to the changes brought about by the diagnosis of a disease such as cancer. For the person concerned, as well as for the relatives and friends, this “journey” often causes feelings of sadness, anger, fear and anxiety, which they can either manage or “tolerate”, or which may lead to feelings of isolation, solitude and utter helplessness. The feelings vary and often alternate throughout the experience.

     

    Psychological changes affect all aspects of life. Some patients may experience changes in their body image, which could be small, e.g. a change in taste, but also major, such as mutilation (mastectomy).

     

    Some people, either patients or caregivers, experience changes in their professional life and are confined at home, while others may feel disappointed about spending less time with their children because of their hospitalisation or the side effects of the treatment. Changes may also occur in our relations with our significant others, as we try to communicate difficult emotions.

     

    Issues of communication with our loved ones also arise as the whole family tries to adjust to the new situation. Discussing the issues with the psychologist may be effective in helping patients and their relatives and friends draw personal strength and enhance their relations, leading to improved psychological adjustment to this experience.

     

    Counselling support for caregivers

    The cancer experience affects not only the patient but also relatives and friends. Research has shown that in their endless struggle to offer their loved one emotional and practical support, caregivers may often effectively hide their own psychological and other needs. Having this in mind, counselling support is also available to caregivers, who may contact the counselling service, either on their own and/or with the patient.

     

    Why should I see a psychologist? – The role of counselling support

    Contact with an expert in mental health should not be a taboo subject for people experiencing cancer. It does not necessarily relate to psychiatric disorders, such as depression or stress disorders. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, when referring specifically to the psychological effects of cancer, we mostly use the term “psychological distress”, which is defined as follows:

     

    “A multifactorial, unpleasant emotional experience of a psychological (cognitive, behavioural, emotional), social and/or spiritual nature, that may interfere with the ability to cope effectively with cancer, its physical symptoms and its treatment. Distress extends along a continuum, ranging from common normal feelings of vulnerability, sadness and fears, to problems that can become disabling, such as depression, anxiety, panic, social isolation and existential and spiritual crisis.”

     

    Questions frequently asked by patients and caregivers:

    Patients and their families manage their experience with the disease in different ways, depending on their environment, the people around them, their personality traits, their personal values and other factors. Nonetheless, the questions they ask the psychologist are common and arise from their needs, which vary in each phase of the disease.

     

    The most frequently asked questions, the replies to which may vary depending on the patient, are the following:

     

    Initial diagnosis:

    • Shock, why do I feel like this is happening to someone else?
    • How will I speak to my children?
    • What will I say at work?
    • How will my friends react towards me?
    • What does the disease mean? What do the things that the doctor is telling me mean?
    • What more can I do to help my loved one that is sick, both emotionally and practically?

     

    Treatment

    • How can I deal with the sadness, the anger, the changes in my body, the loss of my hair?
    • How can I tolerate the mental and physical fatigue from the side effects?
    • How can I regulate my everyday life so that I can be more functional even if I am receiving treatment?

     

    Completion of treatment

    • Fear of a possible relapse. What will happen now that I don’t do chemotherapy anymore?

     

    Relapse

    • Why is the disease back?
    • How can I find the strength to deal with this again?
    • From where can I draw strength to continue to keep my faith?

     

    Deterioration of the disease

    • How will the family prepare based on its principles and values?
    •  Management of mourning.

     

    How can I make an appointment?

    You may ask your doctor for a direct referral or call 22847406 to make an appointment.

  • Palliative Care Unit

    The Centre’s Palliative Care Unit operates since May 2009.

     

    But what is palliative care?

    It is a holistic approach towards the patient, aiming to control pain and other symptoms and address the psychosocial and spiritual problems faced by the patient and their family.

     

    Palliative care is offered by specialised doctors.

    Studies have shown that early referral to palliative care can improve the patient’s quality of life and possibly extend life expectancy (Temel JS et al; 2010, 2011, 2016).

     

    Reasons for referral:

    • Pain.
    • Other symptoms (e.g. shortness of breath, constipation, etc.).
    • Supporting medication from the interdisciplinary palliative care team.
    • Hospitalisation to receive supporting medication (e.g. hydration, transfusion, etc.).

     

    Who makes the referral?

    The treating oncologist.

     

    How does the first assessment take place?

    First meeting: Acquaintance with the patient and the relative that accompanies him or her. A brief history is taken, the reason for the referral is determined and a clinical examination is carried out.

     

    This is followed by an evaluation of the drugs taken by the patient (in connection with the criterion for the referral – usually pain), which drugs are helping the patient and which are not.

     

    The doctor recommends medication and, if accepted by the patient, it is prescribed and the patient and the accompanying relative are provided with explanations on how to take the medication as well as any possible side effects.

     

    Patients and their relatives are informed about the next appointment, which is usually arranged within 2 – 4 weeks. Contact details are provided in case of queries or side effects.

     

    After the end of the meeting, the patient’s file is updated accordingly. The oncologist and the palliative doctor collaborate and consult with each other.

     

    The objectives of the Unit:

    • Acquaintance with patients who may benefit from palliative care.
    • Interdisciplinary approach.
    • Improved quality of life.
    • Control of pain and symptoms.