Lift Cancer Care
Cancer casts a long, dark shadow over countless Australian families; its impact vast and multi-layered. That it threatens lives is confronting enough. But the fact its treatment can be so debilitating, both physically and mentally, that some patients wish they’d never started it, adds a cruelty beyond measure.
ThincLab tenant Lauren Whiting, however, is changing that reality. In January 2017 she identified the need for a centre that—for the first time in Australia—offered fully coordinated, multidisciplinary support care for cancer patients. In January 2018, she launched it.
Located just outside the Adelaide CBD on South Road in Kurralta Park’s Tennyson Centre, Lift Cancer Care Services is an entirely new business model for the Australian health care system. It provides a raft of carefully integrated support services for cancer patients leading up to, and during, their treatment. These include physiotherapy, psychology, general practice, nursing, psychiatry, speech pathology and dietetics.
According to Lauren, an experienced physiotherapist herself, this significantly lessens the negative impact of side-effects as they arise, rather than leaving them to accumulate, magnify, and only be addressed weeks or months later in rehabilitation. “I’m so excited to think how many people we’re going to help get through cancer treatment with their quality of life largely intact,” she enthuses. “It’s an incredibly important service.”
To get the business up and running in such a short time would seem almost superhuman. In that 12-month period, Lauren: developed and refined her business plan; found and fitted out suitable premises; achieved day-hospital accreditation with the Australian Council in Healthcare Standards, enabling crucial compliance with private health insurers; recruited like-minded practitioners in all health disciplines; and completed a Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship here at the University of Adelaide.
And all that as a mother of three young children. “I was like a dog with a bone!” she laughs. “But honestly, I don’t have any secrets. It was just relentless hard work, and the team at ThincLab have provided amazing support.”
The early feedback from Lift’s patients and referring clinicians is excellent, says Lauren. But balancing the demands of work and family, she admits, can present a challenge.
Yeah, it’s tricky at times. But my husband’s incredibly supportive. He knows how thoroughly I’ve planned this—and that I’d be a nightmare to live with if I didn’t give it a go! Plus, we both feel we’re giving our kids a wonderful example of what you can achieve if you believe in, and apply, yourself.
Looking to the future, Lauren’s vision is to bring Lift’s services to communities throughout South Australia, and potentially beyond. Being an entirely new form of healthcare provider in Australia, however, she’s keen to spend some time establishing the business and gathering benchmark data.
We’re really in new territory. I don’t even know if our model has been applied anywhere else in the world—I haven’t had time to look!
We’re inclined to believe her.