Friday 15th April 2016
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Spring 2016
Kirsty Gillespie is a Health and Well-being Practitioner and supports people after treatment.
As a result of earlier detection and better treatment options, more people are surviving a diagnosis of cancer. Unfortunately, services to support these people after treatment have not kept up with the ever-changing world. My role of Health and Well-being Practitioner was created to meet this need, as part of the Scotland-wide Transforming Care After Cancer Treatment (TCAT) programme.
TCAT aims to develop and implement models of care that:
- enable people to be more active in managing their own care
- provide services tailored to people’s needs and preferences
- support people to deal with the physical, emotional and financial consequences of cancer and its treatment
- improve integration between services and provide more care on a local level.
As Health and Well-being Practitioner within a TCAT project team, my job is to ensure that individuals living with and beyond cancer are prepared and supported to live with the consequences of the diagnosis and its treatment.
Patients from breast cancer and colorectal cancer pathways are automatically invited to our health and well-being clinics 6–8 weeks after their treatment ends. During the appointment they are asked to complete an electronic holistic needs assessment (eHNA). The purpose of the eHNA is to provide a brief holistic assessment of people’s concerns as they go through their cancer treatment and beyond.
The eHNA also identifies services and resources that may be of use, and informs the development of a collaborative care plan to resolve these concerns. The person is then given a copy of the care plan as a reminder of everything that was discussed and to promote self-management. A copy is also sent to their GP.
The value of the eHNA
The eHNA is a valuable tool in identifying concerns that the person may previously have been reluctant to bring up. For example, many patients have highlighted financial concerns using the eHNA and informed me that they were glad that it was part of the assessment, as they would never have thought of discussing it at a clinic appointment. By highlighting these concerns, I was able to signpost or refer people on to appropriate services. This has made a difference to people’s well-being, as some of their worries have been eased.
Evaluating and improving
Following successful implementation within the breast and colorectal cancer pathways, we are opening up our services to include head and neck and gynaecological cancers. This will enable these patients to attend the health and well-being clinic and complete an eHNA and care plan. Our next steps will be to analyse our data for evaluation. Questionnaires have been sent to patients who have attended and they will continue to be sent out as part of a rolling programme. The project team will also focus on communication, aiming to improve awareness of the project and to ensure people understand the purpose of the clinics.