Cancer can elicit an overwhelming amount of thoughts and feelings, and many people experience anxiety and depression. The Clinical Psychology Cancer Service has integrated excellent psychological support across all cancer teams at King’s Mill Hospital in Nottinghamshire. They have helped a wide range of people living with cancer to cope with difficult emotions.
The service model is based upon the NICE guidance for Improving Supportive and Palliative Care for Adults with Cancer (2004). This emphasises the importance of healthcare staff routinely screening patients for symptoms of psychological distress. The team has challenged the established medical culture by building strong working relationships with multidisciplinary cancer teams, and local commissioners, to successfully embed psychological provision.
As well as training staff to identify patients who would benefit from individual and group therapy, the team has developed innovative psychological support initiatives. One, being a public website full of useful resources, covering everything from coping with anxiety to body image. They have also established a text support relapse prevention package called ‘Flo’ to help patients monitor and self-manage emotional difficulties outside of service hours and a community mindfulness group co-facilitated by patients.
‘Even if someone has curative treatment, they might feel quite changed by that experience and wonder how they can move forward. We can help.’ says Clinical Psychologist Jo Levene. ‘One of the biggest things for a patient is having a person outside of their family who they can talk to,’ adds Macmillan Clinical Psychologist Sanchia Biswas. ‘We’re a safe space, and we can help people to understand why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling.’
If you would like to find out more about the team’s work please email Mandy Edwards, Partnership Quality Lead.