Managing side effects
I am a Prostate Specialist Radiographer at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. I'm working to improve the experiences of prostate cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. The Christie is the largest cancer centre in Europe and treats over 700 prostate cancer patients with radiotherapy each year. Many men undergoing radiotherapy experience one or more side effects. My project looked at how these side effects were best managed by looking at the best care pathway for these men.
The need for this project arose for a number of reasons, including overcrowding of clinics and patients receiving different referrals to support services due to a there not being a clear pathway of care. Also patients were being reviewed by different members of staff and had to spend time explaining their situation and treatment history, which impacted on time they had available to discuss any side effects they were experiencing.
To address these issue I scoped out national practices on care pathways for patients undergoing radiotherapy. I worked with the Research and School of Oncology teams and the audit department to develop a short questionnaire which was sent to all Radiotherapy Department Heads. I then used this information to create an evidence based care plan for the management of side effects of radiotherapy.