Monday 10th September 2012
An innovative project is helping families cope with the everyday effects of cancer.
The Families Together Project was prompted by the case of a young woman with advanced breast cancer who had complex family needs.
Creating a care package
As the patient’s key worker, Macmillan Breast Care Nurse Specialist Terri Jemison drew together a group of professionals to provide a package of care for the family. ‘A timely and responsive intervention was needed as discussions had already taken place about a preferred place of care and plans needed to be put in place for the care of the children,’ she said. ‘From our joint professional experiences, we found that in these situations, statutory care services can’t respond as needed, and it’s often not the patient’s choice to have involvement that is seen to be outside the patient pathway.’
Following the coordination of care for the young woman, a needs analysis was conducted by the group. The needs analysis found that families required continuity of care within their own home and help with everyday practicalities, such as looking after children during chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Group member Hayley Ward, Macmillan Specialist Social Worker, said, ‘Treatment programmes often leave parents tired and fatigued and caring for their children can be difficult, particularly where there is little or no family support.’
Macmillan nursery nurses
Help is now given by two Macmillan nursery nurses who enable parents to rest and recuperate during treatment. The service provides access to financial advice and grants; respite care; liaison with schools; and help with transport, shopping, and meal preparation. The service also provides a vital link between the hospital and community, which gives patients the confidence that their care is holistic and well-considered.
The service has been evaluated and is about to enter it’s forth year, with funding from the local primary care trust. It is a collaboration between the Hull and East Yorkshire Acute NHS Trust, Macmillan and Home from Hospital.
Email Hayley Ward, Macmillan Specialist Social Worker.