New survivorship team improves support for cancer patients
Cancer patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) are benefitting from the Macmillan Recovery Package, a new project to improve the support and information they receive.
A new Survivorship Team, funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, has been established at NNUH to assess patient’s individual needs and signpost them to support at key points in their cancer journey.
The team, which is made up of four assistant practitioners and a project manager, contact patients shortly after their diagnosis and carry out an Holistic Needs Assessment. This involves looking at all aspects of the patient’s life and working with them to ensure their physical, emotional and social needs are met.
The team want to help patients get their lives back on track and support them to manage the impact of cancer. A further assessment is carried out near the end of the patient’s treatment. An End of Treatment Summary is then completed and sent to the patient’s GP, highlighting possible side effects following treatment and warning signs to look out for that require referral back into hospital.
Sally Legge, Macmillan’s Quality Lead for Norfolk, said: “No one should have to face cancer alone. The Macmillan Recovery Package is a series of key interventions which we know can greatly improve outcomes for people living with cancer. This brand new programme is being rolled out across the country and we’re thrilled to be working with NNUH to ensure people in Norfolk receive the support they need, when they need it.”
Mr Vivekanandan Kumar, Urology Consultant and Cancer Lead for NNUH, said: “Nationally there is evidence that patients who receive extra help to manage the impact of cancer on their lives have a better experience and may achieve better long term health outcomes. We treat 6,000 cancer patients each year who can potentially benefit from this extra support and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.”
Jo Richardson, Lead Cancer Nurse for NNUH, says: “As treatments improve, many people are living with cancer and its effects for much longer and we need to explore better ways to support patients to live well after cancer.”
Bethan Harvey, Survivorship Project Manager, said: “We have worked with over 40 patients so far and will be reaching out to more people as we appoint the final members of our team during February and March.“
The Survivorship Team’s work is in addition to the support provided to patients during their treatment by the clinical team and specialist nurses who are in regular contact with patients about aspects of their treatment and wellbeing. The two-year project is being rolled out across twelve cancer sites at NNUH during 2017 and 2018. The first patients are already being seen in colorectal and urology cancer teams. They will be followed by skin cancer, head and neck cancer, gynaecological cancer, Sarcoma, breast cancer, upper gastrointestinal cancer, liver and pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer and haematology malignancies. At the end of the project, the results will be evaluated with a view to integrating the project as part of the NNUH Cancer Strategy in the longer term.