Monday 22nd September 2014
Mac Voice, the magazine for Macmillan professionals: Autumn 2014
Macmillan and Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust are working together on an innovative lung cancer pathway project to ensure people being treated at the hospital receive the best quality of treatment and care
The project with Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust is making the pathway more person-centred and tailored to individual needs, using a combination of measures. They include more coordinated care between acute and community teams, the introduction of telephone support, advance care planning and undertaking a holistic needs assessment for every person treated to identify their individual needs.
The Macmillan team consists of Lung Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist Lisa Wells, Complex Case Manager Julie Reece, Lung Cancer Support Nurse Rachael Mynard, and Care Coordinator Georgie Morris.
One person who is already feeling the benefit of the project is James Keating-Wilkes from Northampton. He was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in September 2013. ‘The support from Lisa and the team has been fantastic,’ says James. ‘They have been the link between all the different clinicians I see in the hospital, the local hospice, and my GP, which has meant my care is better coordinated. This has meant I am able to spend more time at home, so my experience as a patient has improved and has made me feel as though I am not battling this diagnosis alone.
‘The holistic approach of the project has given me a vastly improved quality of life. They have arranged for me to have access to oxygen at home to help with my breathlessness and I had a chest drain fitted, so rather than going to hospital for several days every few weeks to have the fluid drained from my lungs, the District Nurse comes to my home to do it every couple of days. The process only takes a few minutes and planning my care helps to ensure I don’t reach a crisis point and have to be admitted to hospital.’
‘The pathway for people with lung cancer is often very difficult,’ says Lisa Wells. ‘They can experience a complex range of symptoms which require specialist support. This can result in them coming into hospital unnecessarily. So far we have worked to prevent nine admissions and de-escalated three crisis situations.
‘Also for people who cannot be cured, prognosis can be short, giving little opportunity to come to terms with a life-threatening illness before end of life decisions need to be made. This can have a devastating effect on the person and leave the carer feeling isolated and alone. We have ensured everyone we see is now having these discussions so preparations are made and people have the opportunity to die in the place of their choosing.’
Please contact Lisa Wells, Macmillan Lung Cancer Pathway Project Lead****