1 July 2016
This month Macmillan Cancer Support is focusing its attention on the reality of living with and beyond cancer with the charity Penny Brohn UK. Support from people like Nicky Bancroft are helping people affected by cancer take back control of their health and wellbeing - before, during and after treatment.
Nicky Bancroft is a Living Well Development Manager for Penny Brohn UK in the Midlands. Much of her role includes leading and delivering a range of living well services in Staffordshire in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support. Nicky and her colleagues, including Chris Bettson, the Macmillan Penny Brohn Living Well Services Coordinator, work with patients and their loved ones, helping them to take small steps to improve their day to day experience of living with and beyond cancer. She says: 'All of the cancer support services work well together in Staffordshire. I work most closely with the organisations who are members of the steering group for our programme in Staffordshire. These include the Macmillan Cancer Advocacy Service, the Macmillan Benefits Service, the Macmillan Active after Cancer Service and the Macmillan Information and Support Service.'
Nicky adds: 'I think perhaps the best thing about my role is knowing that the services we provide make a big difference to the lives of individuals affected by cancer. Creating these partnerships with the NHS can help us meet the challenge of improving the patient experience and quality of life of the 4 million people predicted to be living with and beyond cancer by 2030.' Just one example of the help and support Nicky and her team can offer to someone living with cancer is her meeting with a lady who had had breast cancer. She says: “I met Manvinder at a Health and Wellbeing event during 2012 and she was one of the first people to attend a Living Well course in the West Midlands. At that time Manvinder had completed her treatment for breast cancer, but was still experiencing physical side effects which had led to her having to give up her job. This had affected her confidence and she was struggling to move on with her life. Recently Manvinder has shared her experience of attending the Living Well course and of her subsequent visits to the Penny Brohn UK’s National Centre near Bristol. The holistic support that we have provided over several years, including a secondary diagnosis in 2013, has enabled Manvinder to find her way through some very difficult times and has led to her whole family making positive lifestyle changes.”
So what does Penny Brohn’s work in Staffordshire involve? There are three main aims:
- To provide people affected by cancer with access to more support aimed at helping them to live as well as possible for as long as possible
- To assist with the redesign of the patient pathway; in particular the introduction of health and wellbeing events as part of the Recovery Package
- To demonstrate through robust evaluation processes that the pathway meets the needs of patients and the NHS
The pathway approach is designed to offer patients and their supporters a degree of choice and to allow progression in people’s ability to self-manage. The range of interventions includes: half-day site specific health and wellbeing clinics, half-day community based wellbeing support events, three day living well courses and on-going follow up support including a one day follow-up course.
If you’re going through cancer and have any questions or would like advice and support and to hear about the help available to you, you can get in touch with Macmillan Cancer Support by visiting www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00.