Thames Valley Cancer Network
Thames Valley is one of five cancer networks testing improved assessment and practical support for older people during their cancer treatment.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have established a pilot Geriatric Oncology Liaison Service named CoCoC - Comprehensive Care for Older people with Cancer. The service consists of a Consultant Geriatrician (0.2FTE), a Specialist Registrar in Geriatric Medicine (1.0FTE) and a Clinical Nurse Specialist (0.8FTE).
All older patients are assessed using a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment, often in the patients own home. Issues such as malnutrition and cognitive impairment are identified are managed as appropriate before treatment begins. The service also works closely with surgeons and oncologists to support treatment decision making.
This video has been created by The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust to showcase their Geriatric Oncology Liaison Service. You will hear interviews with staff from the CoCoC team, the Oncology and Surgical teams, and the Red Cross Coordinator and volunteer buddies.
The service have partnered with the Red Cross to set up a “buddy service” for older people undergoing cancer treatment. All older patients are offered a buddy to provide practical and emotional support during cancer treatment.
Once the Red Cross receive the referral from the service, the Co-ordinator will make contact with the patient, arranging a visit to discuss their needs. The Co-ordinator will carefully match a volunteer buddy to the patient. Services include transport, assistance with prescriptions / forms /grant applications, assistance with meal preparation and cleaning and so on, depending on the patients needs.
The Red Cross buddy service aims to support older people in their own homes so they are able to maintain their independence and be as fit as possible during and after their treatment.