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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

NGH shortlisted for national award for way it supports cancer patients

MR1425 Patient Experience Network PENNA Award for NGH Macmillan team 3.docx

Northampton General Hospital is in the running for a national award for the innovative ways it supports cancer patients.

The Trust’s Macmillan Information & Support Team is vying with eight other UK Trusts in the Cancer Experience of Care Award category of the Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA).

The team, based in the Macmillan Information Centre at NGH, described how it has transformed the way it delivers information and support for cancer patients after questioning them, in a variety of ways, about what works best for them.

Macmillan Information & Support Lead, Wendy Lilley said: “Feedback from cancer surveys showed that our patients felt overwhelmed with written information, particularly at the point of diagnosis when they were struggling to get their heads around having cancer.

“They talked about putting the information away in a drawer and forgetting about it.

“We felt we needed to change our approach and start by asking patients what they really wanted.

“We did this through a patient/carer focus group, through support groups, and by the development of a Patients’ Forum attached to the Macmillan Information Centre.

“Patients and carers highlighted the need for a variety of different approaches to meet their individual information and support needs including videos, webinars, workshops, activities and special events.

“As a result we worked with patients to develop those things to address key concerns including fatigue management, eating well, sleeping, relaxation, and coping with emotional thoughts.

“Patients also identified they wanted more information on treatment-induced early menopause, hormone therapy (breast cancer), erectile dysfunction, incontinence and managing hot flushes.”

A range of other work provided by the centre has included:

  • Offering patients prehabilitation – steps people can take before they start their cancer treatment to help improve their wellbeing. This includes advice on physical activity, nutrition, and emotional wellbeing.
  • Developing information and videos in other languages and tailoring it to support patients with specific needs such as having learning difficulties or being hard-of-hearing.
  • Holding a weekly financial drop-in clinic at the Macmillan Information Centre run by the Citizens Advice services
  • Hosting a weekly walking group for patients and carers
  • Running the HOPE program (Helping People Overcome Problems Effectively)
  • Offering one-to-one appointments to discuss individual concerns.

NGH’s Macmillan Lead Nurse for Cancer, Liz Summers, said: “One good example of the work we have done, for which 91% of patients rated us excellent, was having a dedicated cancer health and wellbeing day held at a local hotel for patients and carers.

“The day started with a patient sharing their story and then participants could choose from a variety of workshops to meet their individual needs including mindfulness, deep relaxation, managing fatigue, eating well and long-term effects of treatment.

“There were also opportunities for patients and carers to have fun and participate in an art class, singing, play walking football, or enjoy a craft activity or Latin dancing.

“We also had a cancer fair where patients and carers could visit a variety of stalls to obtain information about services available in primary care and the voluntary services available to support them.

“I am so proud of all those who were part of the day, it was a wonderful event, and we really felt we’d make a real different for patients and their loved ones.”

Much of the information is now available through the Information Centre’s website and through a dedicated You Tube channel.

In its first four month the new You Tube channel had 365 new subscribers.

NGH’s Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, Nerea Odongo, said: “Our dedicated Macmillan Information and Support Team absolutely deserve national recognition for the amazing and detailed work they do to support cancer patients in the way that they want to be supported.

“I believe they have a very good chance of winning this top national award .”

The PENNA Award finals are being held on Thursday, September 28, at the University of Birmingham

Posted on Wednesday 30th August 2023
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