Who gets to see McGrath Breast Care Nurses?

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Abbydog
Abbydog Member Posts: 485
edited December 2023 in General discussion
I see so much promotion of McGrath BC Nurses.
I just wonder how they decide who to see?
I don't know many women in Adelaide, who have access to one.
Are they available in all states?
Have many of you, my fellow BC ladies, have seen one of these Nurses?
Are they only for patients in the Public sector?
Just curious.
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Comments

  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
    edited December 2023
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    @AbbydogI 'think' the McGrath Nurses are more active with Public Patients ..... I went private for my surgery & my surgeon had a 'nurse' but she didn't always get back to me .... and when I returned to my rural town, the closest BC Nurse (1/2hr away) had resigned & wasn't replaced for some time, so I didn't get to use them either!

    I think your medical team or GP can line you up with one?  But you should be able to find the 'closest one' on the map & give them a call yourself, too.
    https://www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/

    They are available in all states - You can click on the ''face'' closest to you - and it gives the Nurse's name, photo, address & phone number .....



    I also think they are more active in the City areas, not so much regional?  As you can see on 'their map', there are HEAPS in the city areas ...
    https://www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/get-support/find-a-nurse/

    Here's the Sth Aussie ones ....


    Take care & all the best for Xmas & New Year  xx
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,882
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    @Abbydog - @arpie is correct, you can refer yourself to a McGrath nurse.  Just call the foundation and make the request to see one.  Not everyone has access to a nurse as they are very busy so spread thin.
    All the best and let us know how you get on.
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 921
    edited December 2023
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    Adding to the above helpful information @Abbeydog (which is correct). We have this very question asked on the Helpline and often we say if someone hasn't been recommended a Breast Care Nurse (McGrath or otherwise) then the important thing for them to do is ask "Who is the person who will support me if I have any questions?". This could be a registered nurse, general practice nurse, oncology nurse - in the private setting I have even heard of a 'Cancer Care Navigator'. It can be confusing for those who are not in metro area and those in the private system, as the multidisciplinary team may not be applicable. Pip and Sally on the McGrath Foundation Telephone Support Line 

    1800 183 338 

    would be happy to discuss I'm sure.
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
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    Thakyou for your advice.
    I don't need a BC Nurse now. 
    I just wondered how well shared around they are.
    I did try contacting one at a time of need.
    She didn't make herself very available. 
    It seemed like she was working in a public hospital, with other duties.
    Nothing like the TV/Media
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,336
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    It's interesting isn't it. I am a private patient and metastatic now. I was offered a registered nurse who is there for all cancer patients not just bc. I have heard from her once since my met diagnosis in July. 

    I had all my surgery, chemo through the Wesley hospital in Brisbane and my oncologist works there and her rooms are beside the chemo ward. The hospital also has the Kim Walters Choices program for all cancer patients. Kim Walters was the wife of a football player here in qld who died of cancer and set up this charity that the hospital.

    Mostly breast cancer patients attend as it is a hospital that has a breast cancer speciality.  They offer counselling, an advanced cancer support group, yoga, pilates, art classes, reiki and reflexology as well as some other things. It's all free for cancer patients and they also cover the parking to attend. 

    So I haven't found the need to contact the McGrath Foundation for a nurse with the support at the Wesley. My oncologist will always make herself available for questions too which is helpful for me.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,742
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    Wow, that program sounds terrific, @Cath62 ... I bet it is well attended.  

    Wishing you all the best for Xmas & New Year xx
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,336
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    @arpie I attend the advanced cancer support group and while it is open to men and women for all cancer types, I have only seen women attend and the last few sessions there have only been 6 or 7 women all bc except one who has lung cancer.

    The yoga is well attended and also offered online too. I attend that online. Pilates is popular and they have a gym program too which I think is popular but requires a 8 wk commitment initially. I might do that next yr.  The reflexology and reiki is very popular and I have been to a few of these. The reflexology and reiki sessions are individual and go for 45min and are like having a foot massage. It's fantastic.  This sort of stuff should be offered at all hospitals for chronic health conditions.

    The Royal Brisbane Womens Hospital in Brisbane RBWH (women in name only but it treats everyone ) is about to set up a special 150 bed cancer facility so that will be interesting to see what they offer there. The RBWH is a public hospital. 

    Offering holistic health care is definitely the way to go to support cancer patients. It's not all about surgery, radium and chemo
  • Mareealso
    Mareealso Member Posts: 30
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    I had my mastectomy in Nov and it was my surgeon who contacted the Breast Care nurse. The Breast Care nurses are thin on the ground so she is based at the local rural hospital and she has made contact with me through phone and emails. She has been good at prompting me to look after myself re lymphoedema implications and also seroma  build up. She has also provided guidance on what to expect next. 
  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 123
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    I was living on the NSW Central Coast at the time, and it was over Christmas when I had surgery and a final diagnosis.  It was apparently my surgeon who gave my details to the McGrath nurse.  She rang, and said she couldn’t see me because I was in a private hospital. She was based at the public hospital, and couldn’t visit me because of Covid.  She arranged a couple of packages for me—bras, pillows—but that was about it.  I don’t think she ever contacted me again, and so I didn’t feel moved to contact her for support. Doing cancer during Covid lockdown wasn’t easy.
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 485
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    2020 was my year of active treatment. Covid lockdowns and cancer treatment wasn’t a great combination. Very memorable.  I was a Private Patient. I had no support from a McGrath nurse. I was very lucky to have family and friends for support.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,336
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    Definitely seems these McGarth nurses are for public patients and no support if you are private. Then if private it seems support depends on the hospital your treated at. So much for equality in Australia. 

    After i stopped nursing as a career (I was a nurse for 10 yrs) I have always thought the best approach to health care is to be the project manager of your own health.

    You have to advocate for yourself and to do this you need to educate yourself in your health issues. If you do this it helps with meaningful conversations with drs etc and you can engage the other health providers as needed.  Not easy but in this world nothing is. It's hard work having chronic health issues. 

  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,579
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    Great advice @Cath62!
    I was a private patient.   My breast surgeon had 2 breast care nurses.  In the Hospital setting the nurses would spend time, allay fears and always with the Surgeon when he did his checks.  Follow up in the home setting continued.......
    I make a donation annually to the McGrath Foundation as the need and pressure to cover all is great!
  • anniesax
    anniesax Member Posts: 2
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    I phoned the McGrath hotline when the pink test was on last year and they have me the contact numbers for the breast care nurses.  As my surgery was in a private hospital they were only in the public sector so I did not see one.  Once I contacted a nurse she rang me back and was very helpful.  As a previous lady said we are responsible for our own health so you need to find your own people to help you thru.  
  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 123
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    This article might be of interest:

    https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/opinion/2024/01/04/pink-test-mcgrath-foundation

    I also saw today that the Prime Minister and Health Minister are promising to extend McGrath nurses to all cancer patients.  I could understand if breast cancer patients are not thrilled by this, seeing how poorly some of us have been served.  More resources are of course most welcome, but are they being effectively used?
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,390
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    The effectiveness of McGrath nurses depends on their availability but also on the needs of patients. Some have considerable need, some less so. I am content for the assistance to go where it’s most needed, the problem being if the estimation of nurse and patient don’t concur!