In April this year, forty allied health professionals (AHPs) from across Scotland came together in Edinburgh, to learn about and promote their role in cancer rehabilitation. A varied programme, showcasing projects led by various AHPs, was presented to a diverse audience. The aims and objectives for the day were as follows:
- Understand the landscape we are working in, the strategic drivers and the outcomes required.
- Promote the role of rehabilitation and develop a shared understanding of its purpose.
- Share learning to enable future success and ensure equitable services are available across Scotland.
- Begin to create a network of peers who can support each other to develop sustainable and outcome focused cancer rehabilitation services across Scotland.
- Begin to build a vision of what the future should look like and understand what we need to do to get there.
Key points discussed during the day included starting small and recognising that it takes time to improve change; and to ‘think out’ about how changing other services may have the biggest impact on your own.
The event was a great success with everyone who returned their evaluation (75%) reporting it met their expectations, and rating the day as excellent (90%) or good (10%). The most inspiring aspect of the feedback obtained was that more than 93% of respondents reported that they were going to change an aspect of their practice, or take information back to their team as a result of the event.
Community of practice
To ensure learning and sharing continued beyond the event, and to enable more people to get involved we developed an online community of practice called ‘Cancer Rehabilitation: AHP Services and Best Practice’ at knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/cancerrehab
More than 70% of those who returned their evaluation reported that they were either a current member of the community or intended to join.
Delegates were asked to consider what they needed to improve local practices, and what they could offer others. Numerous offers of support were received, for example: ‘I can support people who want to integrate other morbidities into rehabilitation.’
Moving forward, I will link the offers to the requirements, and if helpful I will initiate discussions via the community of practice so that more people can benefit from this.
Social media promotion
To reach colleagues not in attendance and raise the profile of AHPs among the general public, Twitter was used. In November 2014, I put a call to action out via the blog ahpscot. wordpress.com and introduced the hashtag #AHPCancerRehab. Over the 24 hours following the event, the hashtag reached more than 15,000 accounts and made more than 58,500 impressions. To see the tweets sent out on the day, visit storify.com/debbieprovanrd/ahpcancerrehab
You can also view the presentations from the day via the community of practice at knowledge.scot.nhs.uk/cancerrehab/cpd-opportunities and if you too have something you can offer colleagues to help take rehab forward, or you have examples of good practice which you wish to share, please join the community and upload your resources. You can also e-mail me or contact me via twitter @DebbieProvanRD using #AHPCancerRehab.
National AHP Lead for Cancer Rehabilitation and Macmillan TCAT Project Manager