​Getting the right cancer support when it's most needed

Wednesday 21st February 2018

​Getting the right cancer support when it's most needed

Following the launch of the Macmillan Living With And Beyond Cancer Programme we have listened to the importance of patients receiving appropriate information and support at the right time, and the difference this makes to their experience.

This has been backed up in our programme locality meetings, a place where people affected by cancer, healthcare professionals and third sector partners meet to discuss local solutions.

Although each locality had different challenges and potential solutions, they were soon all asking “how do we get the right cancer care and support to people when they need it most?”

This is where Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) plays a starring role. An HNA is a tool to ensure that people’s physical, practical, emotional, spiritual and social needs are met in a timely and appropriate way, and that resources are targeted to those who need them most. It’s a simple questionnaire that is completed by a person affected by cancer and discussed with a health or social care professional.

The Macmillan programme is currently focused on delivering an electronic version of the HNA that can be shared across localities, and we’ve already started to see progress in the hospitals where this is being implemented.

In three localities (Bassetlaw, Doncaster and Wakefield) we have compared referrals in 2016 with 2017 and found that an additional 660 people affected by prostate, breast or bowel cancer have been referred onto appropriate support following a conversation about their needs.

In Bassetlaw this signifies a 150% increase in people affected by cancer being referred onto additional support, the figure in Doncaster has doubled in a year, while Wakefield has experienced a 40% increase.

It is clear that these figures have massive implications in better meeting the needs of people diagnosed with cancer locally and their families.

The three locations highlighted are not the only places where this happening; but they are the places where our programme evaluation is progressing. We hope to see this increase in patients receiving support replicated across all the regional hospitals.

We’re excited by the change process that is being demonstrated and the part that the Macmillan programme has played in this.

Richard Metcalfe, Macmillan Programme Lead, Macmillan Living With And Beyond Cancer Programme

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