Kids Health Info

Oncology Fast Track clinic

  • The Oncology Fast Track (OFT) clinic is designed to support children and their families during a child’s cancer treatment at The Royal Children’s Hospital (while receiving chemotherapy and up to 12 months after a stem cell transplant).

    If your child displays side effects from treatment and you are concerned, you can call the OFT nurse to get advice or support about how to manage your child at home or discuss whether they may need to come into hospital.

    The OFT clinic will be a nurse-led clinic that will provide a fast-track pathway for oncology patients who require a medical review or non-emergency treatment and may help to reduce long wait times in emergency.

    Signs and symptoms

    After chemotherapy treatment, you should monitor your child for the following signs and symptoms:

    • fever (high temperature of 38C or above)
    • chills or shaking
    • dehydration (dry mouth, decreased urine)
    • nausea and vomiting (at any time)
    • pain that is not controlled by your child’s regular medications
    • diarrhoea
    • constipation
    • mouth ulcers
    • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
    • tiredness
    • rash
    • redness, itching or leaking from their port or Hickman line.

    The above symptoms are common for children who have had chemotherapy, but they can mean that your child may become dehydrated or has an infection that requires treatment.

    When to contact the Oncology Fast Track Nurse

    If you notice that your child has any of the symptoms listed above, or you have any other concerns regarding your child’s health during their chemotherapy treatment, you should call the OFT nurse on 03 9345 6101. The nurse can provide advice and support over the phone while you are caring for your child at home.

    The nurse may also ask some questions to help to decide whether your child can stay at home, or if you need to bring your child to hospital to be reviewed. In some situations, the nurse may need to discuss your child’s specific symptoms or concerns with an oncology doctor.

    The OFT nurse is available from 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) and Saturday from 8am to 4.30pm. Between 6.30pm and 8am Monday to Friday, and anytime on Sundays and public holidays, phone calls regarding your child’s health should be directed to the Kookaburra nurse-in-charge on 03 9345 5645.

    Please do not contact the OFT clinic if you have general questions about your child’s treatment plan or their upcoming appointments. These and other general oncology enquiries should still be directed to your oncology nurse co-ordinator (solid, liquid, bone marrow transplant, neuro-oncology).

    The OFT clinic is on level 2, within Day Cancer Care. If you are told to come into the hospital to see the OFT nurse, this is where you should go. When you come to the OFT clinic, you should bring:

    • current medications
    • a change of clothes/overnight bag in case admission is necessary.

    When to see a doctor

    If the OFT nurse or the Kookaburra nurse is unavailable, and your child is unwell or you are concerned for any reason, you should go straight to RCH Emergency.

    If your child has any of the following symptoms during their chemotherapy treatment, you do not need to contact the OFT nurse and you should call an ambulance or take your child to any emergency department immediately:

    • difficulty breathing
    • convulsions
    • unconsciousness
    • looks extremely unwell.

    Care at home

    If your child is being treated with chemotherapy, it is important to do the following while caring for your child at home:

    • check for temperature daily
    • brush your child’s teeth twice a day and check for mouth ulcers regularly (twice a day)
    • check your child’s port site or Hickman line for changes in the skin
    • report any changes in your child’s health or symptoms if you are concerned by calling the OFT clinic. 

    Key points to remember

    • The Oncology Fast Track clinic is for children who are having chemotherapy treatment and become unwell at home or who are experiencing side effects from their recent chemotherapy.
    • The OFT nurse is available from 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday and on Saturday from 8am to 4.30pm. 
    • If your child is very unwell, or you are concerned for any reason, you should present to RCH Emergency or your local emergency department. It is important that you do not delay treatment.

    For more information

    • For more about your child's cancer care, treatment or managing symptoms, speak to you oncology nurse coordinator.


    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed May 2019.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit  www.rchfoundation.org.au.

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Disclaimer
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.