As the Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) Project Lead in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, I work with an extended team to redesign cancer services so that people are better supported during and after treatment, and can access services appropriate to their needs when they are required.
This role has given me the opportunity to introduce and trial Health and Wellbeing Clinics for people diagnosed with breast, colorectal, neck and gynaecological cancers within the region.
The clinics are held in three community locations; one in each of the three local authority areas in Ayrshire, and are offered to patient’s six to eight weeks after their surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy finishes.
Their purpose is to provide people with an opportunity to discuss their needs and to support patients to achieve their fullest potential. During an appointment a Macmillan Health and Wellbeing Practitioner takes the patient through a holistic needs assessment called the cancer concerns checklist.
The checklist has a list of 42 problems to prompt the patient about what their concerns could be. They could be practical problems like constipation, sleep problems and weight loss, or emotional, spiritual or financial problems.
As you can see, this means absolutely anything can be discussed, and for me, this is the real beauty of the clinics. They act as a one stop shop and patients don’t have to see lots of different professionals about lots of different issues and repeat their situation over and over.
Once the checklist has been completed, the patient is asked to prioritise what they would like to discuss in more detail, and together, the health and well-being practitioner and the patient form an action plan which addresses the issues raised.
Although the evaluation results from our clinics and the other elements of our project are not expected until August 2016, the clinics have already received some positive feedback:
“The discussion allowed me to verbalise/realise concerns that I had had subconsciously.”
“I found everything they recommended very useful.”
“I was basically told that anything I was experiencing was ‘normal’ and to continue with what I was doing i.e. exercises of upper limb. This was re-assuring.”
“It helped to focus my mind a bit.”
This is thanks to the partnership approach to problem solving; patients have an active part in their recovery. Their action plan is relevant and achievable and so positive outcomes are more likely.
By Debbie Provan
Debbie is the National AHP Lead for Cancer Rehabilitation and Macmillan TCAT Project Manager. Her background is in Dietetics and she has worked as a dietician since 2004.
She is currently on secondment and has two part-time posts. One is as the National AHP Lead for Cancer Rehabilitation where she works with Macmillan Cancer Support and the Scottish Government to develop cancer rehabilitation services across Scotland. The other is as the Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) Project Lead in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, where she works with an extended team.
If you would like any more information on any aspect of her work you can follow her on twitter – @DebbieProvanRD