Cancer Care Western NSW opens Stage 2 of Western Care Lodge

On Monday 19 May, Cancer Care Western NSW officially opened Stage 2 of the Western Care Lodge in Orange NSW. Dry July was a proud supporter of Stage 2.

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Western Care Lodge provides accommodation for rural patients from Central and Western NSW who are receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment at Orange General Hospital. A radiotherapy course can last up to 6 weeks, so having accessible and affordable accommodation close to treatment can mean the difference between undergoing or forgoing treatment.

Funds from Dry July went towards fitting out and furnishing Stage 2 of the lodge, which includes 8 twin bed bedrooms with ensuite. Added to the already completed 14 bedrooms (Stage 1) the lodge now comprises 22 bedrooms, shared kitchen and laundry facilities, common lounge and resource library. Located within walking distance of the hospital, the lodge is now complete and operating at capacity.

Cancer Care Western NSW identified the need for dedicated cancer patient accommodation in Orange because:

  • There are 1,600 new cancer cases annually in Central and Western NSW, with patients travelling from as far away as Bourke, Lightning Ridge, and Coonabarabran for treatment in Orange.
  • At least 50% of cancer patients will be prescribed radiotherapy at least once during the course of their treatment. However, in Central NSW only 30% of patients undergo radiotherapy. In part this is due to patients being unable to afford time away from home (whether due to work or family commitments and/or the cost of being away from home for several weeks). This lower rate impacts on treatment outcomes and survival rates.
  • Staying at Western Care Lodge means little to no out of pocket costs for patients and carers eligible for IPTASS subsidies; whereas staying at a local motel would cost significantly more. Clinicians expect to see the treatment rate of cancer patients gradually increase due in part to the ease of accommodation at the lodge.

With Western Care Lodge nearby and a second linear accelerator recently brought online, Orange General Hospital is now seeing around 68 radiation oncology treatments per day.