Advanced Nursing Care provided by the Alfred Hospital to the S.E. suburban community

A report back on Rebecca Brereton and Bradley Whitto's session Integrating hepatitis C care within community health and addiction services

Rebecca and Brad provided an insight into what services they provide at the Alfred Hospital for the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, from m the point of view of a Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Consultant working with people who have hepatitis C, drug addiction issues and/or diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The aim of the service is to provide a nurse-led model of care, to educate people with hepatitis C, on the new treatment regime, allowing them to feel included and not excluded, due to their mental health and lifestyle choices.  The idea is to minimize the barriers of treatment by allowing everyone who has hepatitis C, no matter what their status is, in having access to affordable accessible treatment and being cured.

This interesting message that I received from this session was that it is possible to provide a service to anyone and everyone who until now were unable to access this service due to being unable to travel, allowing the patient to feel included and not stigmatized by their lifestyle and mental health issues, and also knowing that the treatment will not impact on their financial burden that they are currently facing.

Inclusion of the patients’ case worker was an interesting addition to the treatment planning process, as I felt this was an excellent opportunity for another person to help the client to understand what they are going through and having that extra support on their journey of recovery.

I found that this session provided me with more food for thought for my own clinical practices, knowing that I as a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who also works with OST, can provide a service to my patients, allowing them to have a choice and making them feel more included in their recovery process without judgment, knowing that there is a cure for Hepatitis C no matter what their liver status is.

Author bio: Wendy is a Nurse Practitioner (Mental Health/Primary Care), registered since 2017 as well as a OST and Hepatitis C prescriber, credentialed mental health nurse and nurse immuniser.