Macmillan Cancer Support has created a role of Cancer Support Worker and posts are currently being filled at the three Trusts in Dorset. Deborah-Lynn Wilkinson is helping patients at Royal Bournemouth Hospital with accessing information and support based on an assessment of their needs using the electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA). If that sounds like a bit of a mouthful then it’s worth noting that Deborah-Lynn is very careful to avoid jargon when speaking with patients. What the patient experiences is a friendly and informal conversation focused on their wellbeing.
Deborah-Lynn visited Jo Lee at Help and Care to get an understanding of independent advocacy support from Dorset Macmillan Advocacy and find out what else the organisation can offer locally. Then Kathleen Gillett visited Deborah-Lynn at the hospital to hear more about the scope of the Support Worker role. Patients can complete the eHNA questionnaire in clinic on a tablet or at home via a web-link and the results form the basis of a care plan. At present Deborah-Lynn is working on one cancer pathway and will contact patients at three points in their cancer journey to ensure to pick up changing needs.
The Support Worker posts will enable the Clinical Nurse Specialists to use their clinical knowledge and time to best effect and widen the skill mix in the department. Macmillan Cancer Support’s latest report on workforce From the Frontline includes recommendations to do just this. We are hopeful that the eHNAs will spotlight where there is a need for advocacy support and that the Support Workers will refer to the advocacy service.
Kathleen Gillett, Macmillan Project Coordinator, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy