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As we all know too well, people living with cancer, as well as their family and friends, can feel distressed after a cancer diagnosis. Our Cancer Council 13 11 20 Nurses are available to ensure no one has to go through cancer alone, and work to screen for distress using a validated and widely used screening tool called the Distress Thermometer.

Through careful listening, our nurses can understand the cause and impact of this distress, and we talk about the role of counselling, and how we can support a person to understand and manage the different emotions they may be experiencing. To enable us to best meet the needs of our clients by providing timely and equitable access to our Counselling Service, we are trialling a stepped model of care.

What does that mean?

A stepped model of care is an evidenced based, staged approach to the delivery of psychological support, comprising of a hierarchy of interventions (or levels of service) matched to the client’s individual needs. For those with low level distress who are requiring less intensive support, studies have identified that a Nurse Counsellor can effectively deliver evidence-based supports such as psychoeducation, self-management strategies, and problem-solving approaches. Whilst clients with more complex needs, will be seen by the Counsellors, as is current practice.

We are excited to introduce Kirsty Trebilcock, who has started in the role of Nurse Counsellor here at Cancer Council SA. Kirsty comes with a wealth of knowledge and skills, with a background in palliative care and is nearing completion of a Masters of Counselling. She has a particular interest in grief and loss, and we are grateful to have her as part of the Cancer Council 13 11 20 team. The addition of Kirsty and the trial initiative is an exciting new venture for the Counselling Service and our Cancer Council SA clients and one only made possible with your support.