The BC Cancer Agency has launched a new program to provide ongoing care for "unattached" cancer survivors - people who have been treated for cancer but have no primary care provider.
The Survivorship Nurse Practitioner Program is the first of its kind in Canada to use nurse practitioners to transition cancer patients back into the community, according to a press release.
The program started in March in Vancouver, where there are an estimated 650 cancer survivors without a family doctor or primary care provider. It will expand to Surrey later this year, with hopes of growing to other areas of high need throughout the province in the future.
People living with - and beyond - cancer can face lots of physical, psychosocial and economic issues in addition to general health-care concerns. Once a person has had cancer, they also have an increased risk of being diagnosed with a second (primary) cancer, thus ongoing screening is important.
The Survivorship Nurse Practitioner program: ensures patients are monitored and that post-treatment side-effects are managed, reducing the need for walk-in clinic and emergency room visits.
Provides care for all other conditions and needs as any other primary care provider.
Allows nurse practitioners direct access to BC Cancer Agency oncologists and other cancer experts, when consultation is required.
The program is part of the province's Nurse Practitioners for BC (NP4BC) initiative, which launched in fall 2012. NP4BC provides opportunities for existing nurse practitioners, as well as new graduate nurse practitioners, to be fully integrated into the health-care system. The majority will be working in primary health-care settings, which can include public health offices, medical clinics, residential care or other community settings. To date, 87 new nurse practitioner positions have been created as a result of the program.
Nearly 200,000 B.C. residents have had a diagnosis of cancer. About 65 per cent of adults and 80 per cent of children diagnosed with cancer are expected to live at least five years post-diagnosis.
The Vancouver program is accepting referrals. Patients must have had a previous cancer diagnosis, an MSP number and live in the following areas: Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Delta/Ladner, White Rock, North Vancouver, West Vancouver,
Coquitlam, Port Moody or PoCo. Individuals who meet these criteria and are seeking a primary care provider can call 604-829-2570.
© Copyright 2013