Metastatic breast cancer patients at Peninsula Health will benefit from the appointment of a dedicated breast care nurse, thanks to the legacy of a breast cancer patient and the support of the McGrath Foundation.
Jenny Macindoe has been a breast care nurse at Cabrini Health for seventeen years. Jenny’s passion for her work led her to conduct a SMICS-funded study tour in 2013, to identify the needs of metastatic breast care patients, develop a model of care and define the role of the metastatic breast cancer nurse.
Three years down the track, Jenny has been appointed at Peninsula Health as the first Victorian based Metastatic Breast Care Nurse, to be funded by the McGrath Foundation.
Jenny, together with two other McGrath Foundation Metastatic Breast Care Nurses in Perth and Canberra, now have the opportunity to provide unique care to patients with metastatic breast cancer and to their families.
“This specialist nursing role is about supporting the complex physical and psycho-social needs of metastatic breast cancer patients” said Jenny.
“Much of the care occurs in the outpatient setting where there is reduced access to supportive care. My new role will help to fill this gap by facilitating referrals to supportive care services”, she said.
It’s about assisting these women to manage their reduced physical capacity and fatigue, providing the patients and their families with information and support”.
The specialist role of metastatic breast care nurse is a legacy of the late patient advocate Joy Knight. Joy, as a member of the SMICS’s Breast Cancer Tumour Group, highlighted the specific needs of cancer patients with a diagnosis of stage four breast cancer and advocated for the development of a metastatic breast care nurse role to support patients and address their complex needs. Joy lost her battle with cancer in December 2012.
“Joy recognised an overwhelming need to give something back to the cancer community and especially the hospitals where she considered she received outstanding care, Monash Health and Peter McCallum Cancer centre” said Heather Davis, Manager SMICS.
Monash Health was the first site to appoint a metastatic breast care nurse practitioner, Gillian Kruss, in 2015, with funding from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The McGrath Foundation’s report ‘Keeping Abreast of Future Need: A report into the growing demand for breast care nurses’ found that South Eastern Melbourne requires an additional fourteen breast care nurses to adequately service its patient population.
Approximately 140 women across south eastern Melbourne will be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2016. Jenny’s appointment will help support the south eastern Melbourne region but there is still much work to be done.
Earlier this month, the Turnbull government announced $20.5m in new funding for the McGrath Foundation’s breast care nurses.