18 June 2014
James Keating-Wilkes, from Northampton, says the project has helped improve his quality of life.
Macmillan Cancer Support and Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust are working together to ensure lung cancer patients being treated at the hospital receive the best quality of treatment and care.
James Keating-Wilkes, from Northampton, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in September 2013, but he's already felt the benefit of the project:
‘The Macmillan team 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. I'm 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 Macmillan team consists of Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist Lisa Wells, Complex Case Manager Julie Reece, Lung Cancer Support Nurse Rachael Mynard, and Care Coordinator Georgie Morriss. They are working to improve the experience of lung cancer patients being treated at the hospital.
Lisa Wells said: 'Lung cancer patients can experience a complex range of symptoms which require specialist support. This can result in the patient coming into hospital unnecessarily.
'And for patients who cannot be cured, prognosis can be short, giving them 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 patient and leaves the carer feeling isolated and alone.
'But we have ensured 100% of patients are now having these discussions so preparations are made and patients have the opportunity to die in the place of their choosing.'
James said: ‘Accepting the unacceptable is never easy, but with a positive attitude, a sense of humour and help from Macmillan I have been able to see myself as living with cancer and not dying from it. The emotional support for me and my partner has been extremely important, as she has really struggled with my diagnosis. Lisa is always at the end of the phone to provide a listening ear. I have also been supported to make decisions around my end-of-life care when the time comes.’
What's more, the project's new model of care involves undertaking a holistic needs assessment for every patient to identify their individual needs, and looking at care planning at the point of diagnosis and significant points throughout their cancer journey to prevent unnecessary emergency admissions to hospital.
'The holistic approach of the project has given me a vastly improved quality of life,’ said James. ‘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.’