Friday 7th September 2012
In the summer 2011 edition of Mac Voice, Chief Executive Ciarán Devane outlined the areas of work Macmillan will be focusing on over the next 20 years.
In the article, Ciarán highlighted problems with a disjointed cancer care system and gaps in resources and skills in the cancer workforce. Macmillan is working with partners to address these big issues, but also wants to focus on how we can help people take control of their own cancer experience.
Macmillan professionals know that a cancer diagnosis can leave people feeling helpless, afraid, angry, and like they’re losing any sense of normality. People often tell us they want to take control of their situation but don’t always know how or where to go for support. More people would like to be equal partners in making choices about their treatment and care with professionals so they can make decisions that are right for them.
Because people are often not fully informed about the consequences of their treatment or condition, or about what they can do to regain strength and fitness, they are poorly prepared for potential pain, fatigue and other unexpected ongoing needs.
What we’re doing
Macmillan is developing, piloting and rolling out tools, services and information to help people take control of their cancer experience. These include:
- Courses for people living with cancer in programmes that will help them to manage their own condition, such as HOPE (Helping to Overcome Problems Effectively) and New Perspectives.
- Health and Wellbeing Clinics to support people at the end of treatment.
- Testing and delivering models of physical activity care.
- Providing support to employers and people with cancer to help them work through and beyond cancer (see Sharing good practice for more on this topic).
- Piloting the Macmillan organiser, which enables people to access and store personalised information about their cancer.
- Continuing to build innovative partnerships with organisations like Boots UK, which is giving people access to cancer information on the high street.
And we will make sure that information provision is a core part of cancer care, by influencing partners and working with professionals.
Health and Wellbeing Clinics in action
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was part of the Health and Wellbeing clinic pilot. It held eight clinics between April 2010 and February 2011 in a range of non-clinical settings, including a football club and country club. The clinics provided advice and information about services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology and benefits advice, through stalls and one-to-one sessions.
The clinics initially focused on all male cancers and were then opened to men and women with any type of cancer. Patients were asked to attend the clinics after they had finished primary cancer treatment.
Over 50 patients attended the clinics and benefitted from increased awareness of treatment and support options, and increased confidence to manage pain, fatigue and emotional distress.
Feedback on the pilot indicates that the clinics reduced the number of people using hospital services, district nursing, social care, counselling and complementary therapy services because people felt able to take control of their own condition. For more information visit the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative website.
You can read about how Macmillan professionals are helping people self-manage in this edition of Mac Voice.
For more information, contact your Macmillan Development Manager, and look out for developments in future editions of Mac Voice.