TeleChemotherapy eases Peter's pressure and time

Peter Denton with registered nurse Lara Skerritt

Born and bred in the country, Peter Denton has lived in the Wheatbelt town of Cuballing for 35 years. 

After being diagnosed with Melanoma just over six years ago, Mr Denton has been through chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, an additional cancer diagnosis and ongoing immunotherapy treatment. 

Three months ago, the WA Country Health Service’s (WACHS) newly established Narrogin TeleChemotherapy service made it possible for Mr Denton to start having his immunotherapy treatment from his home town

Mr Denton has had to do a lot of travelling for his appointments and treatments, particularly when first diagnosed and having chemotherapy and surgery at Royal Perth Hospital. 

“After that I was having immunotherapy in Bunbury every two to three weeks.

The round trip of more than 400 kilometres can be pretty tiring, especially after having treatment,” Mr Denton said. 

“Fortunately, I’m relatively well with my condition but a lot of people aren’t. 

“I feel for people who have to travel that far, have their treatment and then travel home again. 

“If they are not well after their treatment they have to stay the night, which can be quite stressful for someone who might already be feeling weak and helpless.”

The 30-kilometre round trip into Narrogin is much less pressure on Mr Denton and his partner and that they’re usually home within about an hour and a half. 

“I have received excellent life prolonging care from my Bunbury oncologist, but the fact that I no longer have to travel is certainly a plus for me and my wife.”

“Even though I’m now going to Narrogin for my four-weekly treatment, the use of telehealth means I still get to see my specialist and I was even able to get the results of my recent PET scans.

“I think telehealth is a really good tool, especially for people who are isolated or vulnerable.”

This week is Telehealth Awareness Week (19-23 October) where WACHS is shining a spotlight on how digital technology is having a positive impact on country people.

WACHS Wheatbelt Regional Director Rachele Ferrari said the organisation’s telehealth capability rapidly expanded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“WACHS has always been a global leader in innovative thinking when it comes to harnessing technology for a more equitable health system.

“Mr Denton’s story is a great reminder of our commitment to ensuring country patients receive world-class healthcare regardless of where they live.”

In Western Australia, telehealth delivers a range of specialist emergency support to staff in country hospitals treating acute emergency patients, including those presenting with mental health concerns; inpatient consults through a virtual ward round; outpatient consults with specialists, as well as training and education for health staff and consumers.

Check with your health professional to see if a telehealth appointment is right for you.  For more information visit the HealthyWA website.