Palliative Care - Meg Harrison
Prior to commencing study to become a Nurse Practitioner I had extensive experience in A&E and ICU both in Australia and overseas.
Inspired by personal experience I moved to community palliative care in 2008. I worked as a nurse in community palliative care, the palliative care unit and then the co-ordinator of the palliative care clinical trials team before I began further studies- Masters Nursing Practice Nurse Practitioner in 2012 with Deakin University. I was endorsed Nurse Practitioner with Barwon Health Community Palliative Care in 2016.
A key priority since commencing the role as the Nurse Practitioner has been to develop and extend the scope of practice to focus on improving the quality of life of patients who access the service.
A key aspect of my Scope of practice is symptom management, maximise function and improving quality of life. The multidisciplinary Cachexia & Nutritional Support Service (CNSS) has enabled this. The CNSS has been operating since 2008.
In 2020 I commenced Masters of Philosophy (MPhil) with Deakin School of Medicine with the potential to extend this to a PhD.
Cancer Cachexia is a complex syndrome resulting in progressive functional decline due to systemic inflammation causing involuntary weight loss, muscle breakdown, poor appetite and altered metabolism. The impacts of cancer cachexia is extensive resulting in impaired response to treatment, exacerbation of symptoms and significant patient distress.
The primary aim of the CNSS is to improve quality of life by preventing or treating cancer related cachexia, maximise nutritional support, functional muscle strength, and minimise/manage cancer cachexia symptoms.
Management of cachexia requires a multidisciplinary approach and the CNSS has a team with a physiotherapist, dietitian alongside a palliative care consultant and myself.
The aim of my research is to assess if the service improves quality of life for patients with cancer cachexia- with data we collect at the clinic in combination with the input-“voice” from the patients’ and Carers’ perspectives.
- Prognostic markers of overall survival in cancer patients attending a cachexia support service: an evaluation of clinically assessed physical function, malnutrition and inflammatory status. Bland KA, Zopf EM, Harrison M, Ely M, Cormie P, Liu E, Dowd A & Martin P. Nutrition and Cancer: 2020. An International Journal.
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Last Modified: Monday, 01 February 2021