North East London Cancer Network
North East London is one of five cancer networks testing improved assessment and practical support for older people during their cancer treatment.
There are five acute trust pilot sites in the North East London Cancer Network workingto improve outcomes for older patients with a diagnosis of colorectal or breast cancer.
Read their Final Project Report [PDF].
Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists(CNSs) in these trusts have been trained to undertake a comprehensive geriatric assessment of their older patients following diagnosis. The assessment, lasting up to 60 minutes, aims to identify issues which can be managed to ensure patients are as fit as possible for their treatment. Treatment plans will be discussed with patients in an outpatient setting and once the patient agrees; the treatment will begin. Geriatricians are also being involved in the management of older patients.
North East London Cancer Network has also set up referral pathways to the local Age UK and Age Concern, who will provide practical support services to the older patients during their treatment. CNSs refer patients to Age UK / Age Concern for services such as befriending, shopping, cooking or cleaning as well as other practical and emotional support. Most services are provided by volunteer ‘buddies’, trained and managed by Age UK.