Academic journal article Nursing Praxis in New Zealand

Cancer Connect New Zealand: Description and Retrospective Audit

Academic journal article Nursing Praxis in New Zealand

Cancer Connect New Zealand: Description and Retrospective Audit

Article excerpt

Abstract

The Cancer Connect New Zealand (CCNZ) service is a free confidential telephone peer support programme, run by the Canterbury/West Coast Division of the Cancer Society of New Zealand (CSNZ). The programme links people affected by cancerto specially trained peer support volunteers (TPSV) who have been through similar cancer experiences. This service was started in 2005, and now more than 950 New Zealand non-metastatic cancer clients or their care-givers have been matched by qualified CCNZ coordinators. Clients accessed the service for various reasons, including support and advice on the practical, social, family or psychological impacts of their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

This paper reports a retrospective audit of the CCNZ service in which paper records of CCNZ matches were reviewed, assessed and described. The audit describes the number (n=156) and type of Cancer Connect matches made during the year July 2008-July 2009. During this period there was a 95% 'on paper' success in matching clients with TPSV. Information included covers: the client's gender; age; cancer type; time from diagnosis; treatment; marital status; geographical region; and most importantly, their reason for referral. This audit was performed to record baseline demographic data of those using and providing the CCNZ service. This information not only offers insight into how the process of matching and usage is applied, it also adds to the literature on peer review support, and informs nurses working with non-metastatic cancer clients and their families where telephone peer support can be found. These results will also inform Part 2 - a prospective audit/research project to discover any gaps in the CCNZ service and to identify satisfaction, effectiveness and safety of the CCNZ service from the clients, TPSV and referrers perspectives (currently being completed).

Key Words: retrospective audit, Cancer Connect New Zealand, Cancer Society of New Zealand, trained peer support volunteer

Introduction

Although cancer is unlikely to be eliminated, its impact on the community can be lessened by improving the quality of life for those who develop the disease (Cancer Society of New Zealand, 2010). The Cancer Society of New Zealand (CSNZ) is one of the foremost organisations dedicated to reducing the incidence of cancer and ensuring the best cancer care is available to everyone in New Zealand. It utilises the New Zealand Cancer Control Strategy (Ministry of Health, 2003) and the New Zealand Cancer Control Action Plan 2006-2010 (Ministry of Health, 2006) to undertake this mission. It also works with District Health Boards, Primary Health Organisations, the Cancer Control Council and relevant Non-Government Organisations on specific programmes and services (CSNZ, 2010). One such programme is Cancer Connect New Zealand (CCNZ). This is a free 0800 telephone peer support service which provides support and the opportunity for nonNoble-Adams, metastatic cancer patients and their family to talk with carefully selected and trained peer support volunteers (TPSV). The TPSV have also experienced a life affected by cancer. The provision of the CCNZ service was initiated through results of international research that concluded people who have cancer can benefit from talking to other people who themselves have been faced with a diagnosis of cancer (Campbell, Phaneuf & Deane, 2003; Devine & Westlake, 1999; Girgis & Hansen, 2009; Hoey, leropoli, White, & Jefford, 2008; Power & Hegarty, 2010; Tilkeridis, O'Connor, Pignalosa, Bramwell, & Jefford, 2005). They state that individuals who have personally experienced cancer are those most likely to be able to understand the feelings of someone else in a similar situation. This support in turn, can be a valuable adjunct to their medical care.

As part of the CSNZ's commitment to continuous improvement of its programmes and services, a full description of the CCNZ service and a retrospective oneyear audit of Cancer Connect matches was undertaken to determine if service benchmarks were being met. …

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