Meet the team
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a tertiary cancer centre, serving the whole of the North East. The Cancer Survivorship programme was delivered by the Urology Department at the Freeman Hospital, a tertiary referral centre for all urological cancers, offering the full range of services for patients in the North of England
The big idea
The aim was to develop and deliver a comprehensive prostate cancer survivorship programme tailored to address men’s health and supportive care needs and embed this into routine practice.
The focus was to ensure every man with prostate cancer was able to access the survivorship programme at any stage in the pathway and in any way which was appropriate them.
Making it happen
The pathway was set up so men could access support in face to face appointments, education events, courses and in dedicated functional clinics. This ensured that the service was adaptable to the individual needs of the patient.
Holistic Needs Assessments were an integral part of the programme and facilitated patient centred care. This ensured there was an assessment of needs, action planning and signposting to appropriate services, thereby empowering men to self-manage.
Holistic Needs Assessments also serve to inform the team of patient experiences and outcomes and provided a basis to help facilitate effective communication between primary, secondary and tertiary care. It highlighted when men had accessed health and wellbeing initiatives such as exercise programmes or psychosexual therapy.
The educational side of the programme was provided in two main forms. A six week ‘Living with and beyond’ course, 14 men were invited to each course. The course was designed specifically to tackle the most common issues reported by men such as erectile dysfunction and fatigue. Two main topics were discussed each week.
An alternative, condensed evening event was available to accommodate those who could not attend weekly sessions.
Finding out what works
In setting up this programme we found that men do have unmet needs and there was a clear need for this project. We found that men want to access support in different ways, this insight helped inform design and ensuredthat the service was adaptable.
There was a 95% engagement of men receiving treatment in the programme. The group sessions revealed that men are happy to talk about their problems in group settings and that they value the peer support. They also showed that men are keen to get back to full quality of life as soon as possible and are prepared to work with the team and follow advice to achieve this.
A key challenge in setting up this project was raising awareness of men’s unmet needs and facilitating discussion around the commissioning of services. To overcome this, a steering committee was set up to ensure all views were taken into consideration. GP groups were also included in the planning process.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Data collection was embedded as early as possible in the project. Fact P, Holistic Needs Assessments and distress thermometers were used and data was collected at baseline and six months post treatment. An improvement in patient perceived quality of life was demonstrated and distress scores have halved.