The Oncology Parents Advisory Council, known as OPAC, is a committee of parents and staff. OPAC brings together clinical, nursing and allied health staff with parents of children who are patients of the Centre. It was established in 1995 by the Cancer Centre for Children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. It's goal is to find ways to help families who have had a child treated in the hospital by its Oncology Unit. Over the years, OPAC has been very innovative and its recommendations have been adopted by the Hospital.
The Committee provides an avenue for families and patients to voice their needs and concerns, including the opportunity to provide input into decisions affecting the care of their children. OPAC organises a number of family events throughout the year, including parent education evenings with guest speakers and special congratulatory nights for children who have completed therapy.
How we have helped families
Recommendations that have been put forward by OPAC and adopted by the Hospital include:
Advocacy for access to wi-fi for families
Installation of the Celebration of Bells in Camperdown Ward and clinic
Regular education evenings in which staff explain treatment related issues to parents
Regular celebration nights where families are invited to celebrate the end of treatment at a party
The design of the parent diary curreently sponsored by Redkite
OPAC parents represent the Cancer Centre for Children on a range of committees nationally, including the Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology and Oncology Group’s Parents and Carers Group, where focus is mainly on enhancing the care of children and adolescents with cancer, developing strategy and informing policy. OPAC also has input to the Centre’s newsletters and website. OPAC organises a number of family events throughout the year and want to do more to support Oncology patients and their families.
Share your ideas or volunteer
You may not wish to join OPAC, but you may want to provide some feedback, discuss an issue that concerns you, or have a great idea.
Any support you'd like to give will be gratefully accepted. For example, you might like to offer to help with catering for an event like the Celebration Night or donate a raffle prize. You might prefer to help by reviewing a protocol or some written material. You're welcome to let us know how you'd feel comfortable participating as we value all the support that is offered.
Let us know how you'd like to be involved; we're happy to talk about a role that suits you. For more information about OPAC, email Deborah Carr.