GIPPSLAND CANCER SURVIVORSHIP PROGRAM
The Gippsland Cancer Survivorship Program commenced in October 2016 and is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services as a part of the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program (VCSP). The program aims to establish a shared care model of post treatment follow-up for cancer patients and their families in Gippsland which will help improve cancer outcomes in the region and also provide better co-ordinated cancer care. The shared care model will include Oncology Specialists, General Practitioners and a Cancer Survivorship Nurse.
Why is survivorship care important?
While some cancer survivors may be over the worst of their condition by the end of their treatment, it is not uncommon for them to experience ongoing physical or psychological problems such as pain, fatigue and depression which may lead to further health issues. This model increases the capacity of healthcare providers to monitor and identify the long-term effects of the cancer and treatment and is well established in many national centres.
The shared care model:
In the GCSP patients will be assessed by their oncology specialist (medical/radiation oncologist/haematologist) at the completion of active treatment for eligibility into the program. If eligible, the patient will be referred to the Survivorship Nurse (SN). The GCSP will comprise of two appointments with the SN. The first appointment will incorporate assessment of individual needs, including physical, psychosocial, effects of treatment and general wellbeing, and will have supportive care screening carried out. A treatment summary will also be generated. The second appointment will incorporate recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, and cancer related information and resources, including the management of late effects. Access to allied health and community services will also be facilitated if required. The patient will be given a copy of the Survivorship Care Plan (SCP) and a copy will be sent to the GP and oncology Specialist. GPs will be provided with a detailed surveillance schedule specific for each tumour stream, and the patient will have some specialist appointments replaced with the GP. This will ensure a greater capacity for monitoring and identification of long-term effects of the cancer and treatment. GPs will also have a risk stratification referral and communication pathway back to the oncology Specialist for problems which need specialist care.
GCSP Model of Care
The GCSP is a collaboration between Gippsland Regional Integrated Cancer Services (GRICS), Latrobe Regional Hospital, Monash University Department of Rural Health, Gippsland Primary Health Network, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS), Gippsland Southern Health Services (GSHS) and the Victorian Government.
News to date:
The GCSP will initially focus on survivors from four tumour streams – breast, prostate, colon and lymphoma who have received treatment at Latrobe Regional Hospital and in 2018 be rolled out to survivors who have been cared for by Bairnsdale Regional Health Service (BRHS) and Gippsland Southern Health Service (GSHS).
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