Aims: With consideration for growing clinic numbers and acknowledgement of the urgent need to address the increasing number of patients diagnosed and living through the cancer experience, the Barwon Health cancer service aimed to address survivorship needs of the cancer population by initiating a nurse led clinic. This decision was supported by the growing evidence of the benefits of nurse led clinics to improve outcomes for cancer survivors with complex needs.
Methods: An 18 month project was funded by the Victorian Department of Health in July 2012. To date the project has initiated and commenced evaluating a nurse led survivorship services within two tumour streams - Head & Neck Cancer and non Hodgkins’ Lymphoma survivors. The project and clinic commenced first at the regional cancer facility to test and refine the process. Subsequently a rural cancer service introduced an adapted model of this nurse led survivorship model of care.
The study participants were recruited following completion of curative intent chemotherapy &/or radiotherapy treatment within the regional cancer service. The suitable candidates were invited to attend two nurse led interviews. The first allowed for assessment and discussion of their survivorship needs. The second appointment includes the provision of a survivorship care plan and empowerment of the cancer survivor to provide a way to move forward in their life after a cancer experience.
The project will evaluate the effectiveness of the survivorship intervention with specific consideration of quality of life, health literacy and useability of the intervention. The participants were surveyed before and after the nurse led intervention and three months later. The project’s preliminary results will be discussed.