Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

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What a coincidence!

Our colleagues and programme partners Staffs & Wolves Cancer Advocacy project have just published the post below on their own blog and Kath Curley project manager has kindly agreed to share it with us:

At last week’s Cancer Older People and Advocacy Programme Project Management Group Meeting Kathleen Gillett, from Dorset Macmillan Advocacy,  gave a presentation on Macmillan’s Recovery Package.

Recovery Package DiagramThe Recovery Package is a series of key interventions which, when delivered together, can greatly improve outcomes for people living with and beyond cancer.

The Recovery Package is made up of the following elements:

  • Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and care planning.
  • Treatment Summary completed at the end of each acute treatment phase 
  • Cancer Care Review completed by the GP or practice nurse to discuss the person’s needs.
  • An education and support event such as Health and Well-being Clinics.

Today, Collette Cooper and I met with Sarah Gorton, Macmillan Cancer Survivorship Project Manager, based at Royal Stoke Hospital, who has taken up a 2 year Macmillan funded project. Sarah is working with the CNSs, across Royal Stoke and County Hospitals, for 4 cancer sites:

  1. Head and Neck
  2. Brain
  3. Primary Bone
  4. Gynaecological  

to implement an electronic Holistic Needs Assessment (eHNA) within these clinics as an integral part of the Recovery Package.

We discussed with Sarah where advocacy fits within the Package and that Advocates compliment and support the work the CNSs are doing. We hope this will lead to greater partnership and collaborative working with the health professionals.

Good luck Sarah!

Kath Curley, Staffs and Wolves Cancer Advocacy and Support Project Manager.


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Speed networking for health professionals in Dorset

Dorset GPs met the Oncology teams at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester one evening last week for an unusual event aimed at improving communication between primary and secondary care.  The speed networking session followed a full afternoon programme entitled ‘Confident referral, discussions, early diagnosis and ongoing management’.  This was the first of a planned series of education events by the Interprofessional Cancer Education Hub.

Richard Osborne, Consultant in Medical Oncology, welcomed the GPs for the evening networking session.  Paul Barker, Macmillan GP, gave a presentation illustrating the types of letters that have traditionally been exchanged by clinicians in primary and secondary care. They were chosen to provoke discussion and were to some extent tongue in cheek but several proved, to the layperson such as myself, cryptic to say the least.  Patients had, he said, until now been most often left out of the exchange of written communication altogether.  In future however the new Treatment Summary template, which is being rolled out as part of the Recovery Package, and which is designed to be completed by the hospital team and seen by the patient and their GP, will ensure that all have access to the same comprehensive, comprehensible and timely information.

Jen Rimmer, Senior Advocate, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy and Dr Paul Barker, Macmillan GP

Jen Rimmer, Senior Advocate, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy and Dr Paul Barker, Macmillan GP

As one of two providers of relatively new Macmillan funded services in Dorset we were invited to give a speedy overview of our service to the GPs and hospital team present. Jen Rimmer and Kathleen Gillett of Dorset Macmillan Advocacy described the benefits of independent advocacy support by peer volunteers for older people and carers.  Macmillan GP Dr Lavina Clarke said how she had been glad to be able to refer an older person whom she knew to be isolated as soon as she instigated tests and before diagnosis.  Dr Jo Cotton, of Bridport then spoke about The Living Tree Cancer Support Group’s new Stepping Out programme aimed at promoting physical activity for people living with and beyond cancer.

Then the GPs  met with Consultants and Nurse Specialists from Colorectal, Urology, Head and Neck, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Breast and Cancer of unknown Primary teams for speed networking sessions in order to explore effective referrals and optimising two way communication.

Kathleen Gillett, Dorset Macmillan Advocacy