In recognition of Patient Safety Awareness Week, The Gamma Knife Center at Monmouth Medical Center joins a nation-wide effort to encourage engagement of patients, families and the community by promoting the importance of being an active participant in the health care delivery process.
National Patient Safety Awareness Week, an annual campaign led by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), is celebrated March 4 – 10. This year’s theme, “Be Aware for Safe Care,” spotlights the need for collaboration among health care providers, patient advocates and other community organizations to help educate patients on how they can become more engaged in the delivery of their care.
Cancer care is one area in which patients have increasingly become more aware of the need to be engaged in the treatment decision and process. With so many different treatment options for various types of cancers and the associated benefits, risks and side effects of each, patient and family engagement is crucial in ensuring an informed treatment decision is made and delivery of safe care is provided.
At Monmouth Gamma Knife Center, medical physicists play a primary role in ensuring patient safety throughout the treatment process. Gamma Knife is an advanced technology that treats malignant and benign brain tumors, as well as certain functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia, with a procedure called stereotactic radiosurgery, a noninvasive method of treating brain tumors with precisely targeted, high-dose radiation.
The complex and unique combination of Gamma Knife’s components calls for routine tests to maintain quality assurance and ensure safe delivery of radiation treatment. Medical physicists on Gamma Knife treatment teams are extensively trained in quality assurance testing.
“Patient engagement and safety is a top priority for us,” said Dr. Sang Sim, medical co-director at The Gamma Knife Center at Monmouth Medical Center. “Our team works closely with each patient to ensure they fully understand the Gamma Knife treatment process, which is part of providing not only high quality care, but also peace of mind.”
Throughout treatment, the physics staff at the Gamma Knife Center works closely with other members of the treatment team to support imaging, treatment planning, and quality assurance testing of the technology and its components.
“Our quality assurance program ensures the Gamma Knife is delivering radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy,” said physicist Jack Yang. “We utilize a highly specialized set of testing procedures that are performed at daily, weekly, monthly and annual intervals.”
Gamma Knife provides a safe, noninvasive treatment alternative to surgery and conventional radiation therapy. Treatment is complete in a single treatment session, and patients are typically allowed to go home following the procedure to resume normal activities.
The Gamma Knife Center at Monmouth Medical Center is located at 300 Second Avenue in Long Branch, N.J. Call (732) 923-6562 or visit www.monmouthgammaknife.com to determine if you or a loved one may be a Gamma Knife candidate. Most insurance plans and Medicare are accepted.
For more information about National Patient Safety Awareness Week, visit www.npsf.org.