Speciality Lung Care Nurse Service Underway In SA

SA Gov

South Australians with lung cancer now have access to specialist lung cancer nurses in metropolitan public hospitals in a first-of-its-kind partnership with Lung Foundation Australia.

Through a $2.5 million investment over four years, three lung cancer nurses have been recruited – one across the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one at the Flinders Medical Centre and one at the Lyell McEwin Hospital.

A respiratory care nurse has also started at the Central Adelaide Local Health Network, working at both the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

These four new positions form part of an initiative to recruit a total of 76 nurses in priority areas of need – part of the Malinauskas Labor Government’s commitment to employ an additional 300 nurses across the state.

Specialist lung cancer nurses are skilled practitioners who are a consistent link between the patient and treatment teams. They deliver a wide range of services that improve patient outcomes.

This includes advocating for the patient during discussions around treatment options and care plans, clarifying technical or complicated information, and connecting patients with other health professionals.

These new positions provide South Australians living with lung cancer with expert clinical, social, and emotional support as they navigate the healthcare system.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Australia and the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in South Australia. Each year it claims around 700 South Australian lives and costs the State near $50 million.

A 14-month Commonwealth-funded pilot of the Lung Foundation model of lung cancer nurse care found, among other benefits, it shortened the timeframe between diagnosis and treatment, thus improving care and creating health system efficiencies.

As put by Chris Picton

The Malinauskas Labor Government is committed to investing in solutions that will make a difference, improving care not only in our hospitals and emergency departments, but also in the community.

We certainly shared Lung Foundation Australia’s concerns regarding the lack of lung cancer nurses in South Australia, leaving many without adequate support to manage their condition.

We are pleased to invest $2.5 million over four years to these four speciality positions supporting patients across metropolitan Adelaide.

With over 1,000 South Australians predicted to be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2024, the support from these nurses will make a real difference to the care journey.

As put by CALHN’s Heart and Lung Program Nurse Lead, Victoria Fitton

To have a dedicated lung cancer and respiratory care nurse working onsite at both the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a huge benefit for our patient’s ongoing care.

Continuous support from a lung cancer nurse can greatly minimise the stress and trauma of a lung cancer diagnosis for an individual and their family, while also delivering coordinated care support, clinical information, and advice throughout the lung cancer journey.

These nurses are also able to assess patients with lung cancer to assist in optimising treatment, interpreting test results, managing symptoms of the disease and side effects from treatment, and arranging referrals to support organisations to assist with functional and practical issues that arise for the patient and their family.

As put by Lung Foundation Australia Acting CEO, Christa Bayer

We know specialist lung cancer nurses add huge value to the care, support, guidance, and advice lung cancer patients receive.

These four nurses work closely with our organisation to implement the specific Model of Care relating to our Lung Cancer Nurse Program, blended with telehealth nurse support.

We will manage an independent evaluation of the program, while supporting the training, community of practice and professional development of the Lung Foundation Specialist Lung Cancer Nurses over the next four years.

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