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Unique New Mobile Oncology Service

February 15, 2006

Unique New Mobile Oncology And Palliative Nursing Service To Care For Western Bay Maori Cancer Patients

A mobile Maori nursing service specialising in oncology and palliative care for Maori clients is being launched in the Western Bay of Plenty today.

The free service will provide support, rehabilitation and palliative care to people suffering from cancer of all types. Integrated into the service will be an acknowledgment of Maori cultural values, beliefs and the importance of whanau.

The Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation (PHO) will fund the Primary Health Whanau Oncology Nursing Service, which will allow Maori and low income cancer patients to remain at home surrounded and supported by their whanau (family).

PHO general manager Roger Taylor says the project is driven by need and the fact that Maori have cancer mortality rates up to 78% higher than non-Maori.

"Overall rates of those diagnosed with cancer for Maori and non-Maori are similar, however the mortality rate for those diagnosed with cancer is 51% higher for Maori males and 78% higher for Maori females than for non-Maori."

Taylor says Maori are also more likely to be diagnosed with cancers with poorer survival rates, such as lung, liver, stomach, cervix and testicular cancers.

The Primary Health Whanau Oncology Nursing Service will work closely with the oncology and palliative care teams at Tauranga and Waikato Hospital, Waipuna Hospice, general practices, local hapu and iwi and other primary and secondary care providers.

The service aims to provide a specialist oncology and palliative care service that is both clinically and culturally competent. Kaitiaki Services has been contracted to provide the service.

"The service will provide clinical and cultural support to whanau recovering from chemotherapy and or radiotherapy, or those in late stage cancer. Nurses may well visit clients up to twice a day to administer or monitor intravenous medication or pain relief and provide direct links to other medical, cultural and support services.

We want to see people affected by cancer staying in their own homes for as long as possible," Taylor says.

Ngaiterangi Iwi chief executive Brian Dickson says it's important for Maori to be with their loved ones when they are most vulnerable.

"This oncology service will provide our people with the ability to be well cared for at home, especially those facing their final days. I'm pleased the family and whanau of those suffering with cancer can now feel comfortable knowing that clinical help is available as they care for loved ones in their own homes.

"Unfortunately, because of high rates of cancers in our people, there has been a huge demand for this service for a long time," Dickson says.

Ngati Ranginui CEO Barbara Anderson agrees there is a serious need in the community for the oncology service.

"I see this service working alongside our Home Base Rehabilitation service, it will be fantastic to have professional nursing support available for our people who want to remain at home in their time of need."

Roger Taylor says a large part of the Whanau Oncology Nurses' roles will be to support and educate the whanau about their illness, self-management techniques, and ensure they receive the full range of care and support necessary to manage their recovery or deterioration from cancer.

The mobile clinic will allow clients and whanau to directly access oncology, palliative support, medical expertise, a multidisciplinary team of health providers – both primary and secondary, and a range of community support groups.

Maori traditional healing practices and methods will also be an integral part of the service.

Clients will also have better access to diagnostic and assessment resources, rehabilitation equipment and advice.


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