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ChristianaCare cancer program wins Innovator Award

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ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute has been awarded the Association of Community Cancer Center’s (ACCC) 2022 Innovator Award for its person-centered model of care that embeds a primary care provider in the cancer center for patients undergoing treatment who do not have a primary care provider.

The Graham Cancer Center is among the first cancer programs in the nation to offer a program of this kind to its patients.

Patients diagnosed with cancer frequently have one or more concurrent chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, COPD and diabetes. Cancer treatment can make these chronic medical problems worse, so it is important for patients to continue to see a primary care provider during their treatment, which can also help eliminate unnecessary emergency department visits.

The new Primary Care Practice builds on the success of the Graham Cancer Center’s Oncology Express Unit, a program that offers urgent care to cancer patients in distress during treatment.

“We conducted an informal survey that found as many as 15 percent of our patients did not have their own primary care provider,” said Cancer Program Clinical Director Cindy Waddington, MSN, RN, AOCN. “Having a primary care provider onsite working closely with the entire cancer care team helps ensure that essential patient care beyond cancer treatment is not delayed,” Waddington said.

Patients are referred to the practice by their oncologists for any non-cancer health concerns. Since opening in January 2021, the program has received referrals to care for 234 patients.

“Primary care in oncology has been a long-standing challenge for cancer patients and cancer programs,” said Family Nurse Practitioner Debra Delaney, RN, MSN, ACNS-BC, FNP-BC, said in a statement “Thankfully, we’ve been able to solve that challenge by addressing the whole person and promoting healthy living for the long-term.”

Innovator Award winners demonstrate the ability to advance the goals of improving access, quality and value in cancer care delivery, while also providing replicable solutions for other cancer programs and practices.


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