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Macmillan, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Queen Margaret University (QMU) in Edinburgh are working together to establish a new approach to supported self-management. It will involve training volunteers with a cancer experience to help others with the disease. It is an ambitious project and involves a complex network of work streams including:
- developing patient and carer self-management skills
- preparing and equipping healthcare professionals to meet the needs of people affected by cancer
- developing an operative and evaluative framework to ensure effective operation of self-management interventions.
Adopting this model of care will act as a catalyst for significant cultural change and service redesign, which is required if self-management is to positively impact on managing care behaviours and ultimately effect clinical and qualitative outcomes.
The application of the self-management strategic agenda is reflected in plans for the centre where a whole systems approach will be employed (eg operational framework, user involvement, governance). This will ensure the effective implementation of self-management in topic-specific areas.
A key element of this project is to enable people affected by cancer to actively and effectively contribute to the management of their cancer. To achieve this they will develop self-management skills, including:
- problem solving attributes
- decision making skills
- appropriate use of interactive self-management resources
- ability to feed back on their self-management actions.
Macmillan Supporters are people affected by cancer who act to support people with cancer and their carers in a defined area of cancer care (eg nutrition, chemotheapy, radiotherapy, benefits, return to work, living with cancer). The theme ‘Steps to help …’ will be used across the programme. For example, rather than use the term ‘training’, which was considered to be off-putting by volunteers, ‘Steps to help you support others’ will be used in promotional and educational materials.
People affected by cancer who volunteer for the ‘Steps to help you support others’ programme will undertake quality-assured generic and topic-specific education developed by QMU. The associated robust governance framework assures Macmillan Supporters act safely and effectively when supporting people affected by cancer.
This brief review of the project outlines our first steps in establishing this novel approach. Self-management programmes comprise a labyrinth of elements that require integrated implementation and evaluation.
Establishing the approach would seem a logical conduit for sharing self-management experiences, resources, methodologies and self-management integrative models. In today’s NHS, appropriately equipping patients and carers to self-manage seems an almost ethical responsibility of healthcare professionals.
Email Rosemary Richardson|, Professor of Dietetics Practice Development Lead - Dietetics, NHS Greater Glasgow, Adult Acute Division.
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