Personalised cancer care

What is personalised care? Have you had a holistic needs assessment? Have you been invited to a cancer information event?

More people than ever are living with and beyond cancer. It is now widely recognised that living a good quality of life following a cancer diagnosis is as important to people as survival.

We are working in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support to help improve the experience of people living with and beyond cancer.

What is personalised care?

The Recovery Package was recognised in the NHS England Five Year Forward View and the Cancer Taskforce Strategy which outlines a commitment to ensuring that ‘every person with cancer has access to the elements of the Recovery Package by 2020’. The roll out of these interventions are better supporting and improving the quality of life of people living with and beyond cancer.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out that “By 2021, where appropriate every person diagnosed with cancer will have access to personalised care, including needs assessment, a care plan and health and wellbeing information and support.

Cancer Personalised Care has four main interventions. Holistic Needs Assessment and Care Planning, Treatment Summary, Cancer Care Review, and Health and Wellbeing Events. These elements form part of an overall support and self-management package for people affected by cancer – physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, managing consequences of treatment, and information, financial and work support. These elements are sometimes referred to as the ‘recovery package’. Please see the video and information below.

Have you had a holistic needs assessment?

Patients at North Devon District Hospital are offered a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) which gives you the chance to think about your concerns and discuss possible solutions. This covers several areas- physical, emotional, practical, financial, spiritual – and allows you and your healthcare team to work together to make an ongoing care plan that is tailored to you and your needs which might involve accessing services such as counselling, benefits advice or complementary therapies.

You may be offered an HNA at diagnosis, during treatment or after treatment has ended and you can complete an assessment more than once through your diagnosis and treatment. If you haven’t been asked and would like to have the chance of talking through your concerns then please contact your Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), chemotherapy nurse or keyworker

You can ask for help at any time if you feel it would help.

An HNA usually has 3 parts:

  1. Your answer a simple set of questions or fill in a checklist about all areas of your life.
  2. You discuss relevant answers with your key worker.
  3. You can then create a care plan together.

The care plan may include ideas to help you manage your concerns. It will also include contact details for organisations or services that could help, such as a Macmillan welfare benefits advisor or a dietitian.
We hope that this will help you prioritise your most important concerns and be signposted to areas that should be most relevant to planning ahead.

For more information please click link here for a link to Macmillan.

Your holistic needs assessment

You should be given a unique 6 digit code by your cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist or keyworker that is valid for several weeks.

Please complete your HNA via the following link:

Have you been invited to a cancer information event?

Cancer information events (sometimes called Health and Wellbeing Events or Cancer Information Support Clinics) are designed to help people affected by cancer and their family and friends get the support they need during and after cancer treatment.

These events can be specific to your cancer or can be open to people with any cancer diagnosis.

Health and wellbeing events provide information and support on:

  • Benefits and other financial support
  • Diet and lifestyle
  • Long-term side-effects of treatment
  • Local services.

Evidence has shown that patients who attended a health and wellbeing event have:

  • Better knowledge of the signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence and consequences of treatment.
  • More confidence to question or challenge information and make informed decisions about their health.
  • More confidence to deal with the physical discomfort and emotional distress associated with cancer and its treatment.
  • A strong sense of reassurance – even if the services are not needed at that time, they know what’s available and how to access them in the future.

If you haven’t been given an invite to a cancer information event and would like to find out more then please speak to your CNS, a member of healthcare staff within Cancer Services, or ask at the Fern Centre.

Have you received an end of treatment summary?

A treatment summary is a document completed by your clinical team, either at the end of your treatment, or after a significant phase of your treatment. It describes the treatment, potential side effects, and signs and symptoms of recurrence. It is designed to be shared with you and with your their GP.

The treatment summary provides the GP and other primary care professionals with an up-to-date and clear understanding of your treatment, listing any actions that need to be taken and providing details of who to contact with any questions or concerns. This can include information that is essential for updating their records and for conducting a primary cancer care review.

You will also receive a copy which will also let you know if there is anything to look out for during your recovery.

Primary care cancer care review

This is a discussion between you and your GP or practice nurse about your cancer journey and should take place around six months after your diagnosis. The aim is to help you to understand what information and support is available in your local area, help you to open up about your cancer experience and enable supported self-management.

Supported self-management

Self-management means being involved in managing your own health. This is important when you have an illness like cancer that can affect your life for many years. Self-management can help you to know what support is available when you are at home. It can improve your quality of life and help you feel more in control.

Self-management is about:

  • understanding what is most important to you
  • knowing what you can do about it
  • finding out what other help is available and how to get it.

How can self-management help me?

Self-management can help you when you are first told you have cancer, during your treatment and after the treatment is finished. Being involved in your care can help you:

  • feel more in control of your life.
  • understand your condition and how it can affect your life
  • know when you need help and who to get it from
  • make positive changes to improve your health
  • adjust to life after treatment
  • manage any side effects of treatment
  • know about possible signs that the cancer has come back

This may be the first time you have been told about self-management. You may not feel very confident managing your healthcare and may want some support and help.

Self-management helps you work with your healthcare team. Together you can decide what you need and what will help you. This will help you manage your health. You can ask your doctor or Cancer Nurse Specialist about self-management if they have not talked to you about it.

For more information what to do when treatment ends, please see follow the link for 10 Top Tips from Macmillan Cancer Support

Last updated: August 14, 2020