Telephone review clinic established to help prostate cancer patients

The cancer services team have developed a telephone review clinic for men with prostate cancer, post radiotherapy.

The service involves the Macmillan Uro-oncology Project Nurse, Kirsty McKay, phoning patients in their own homes to check how they are coping with the impact of cancer and their treatment, and to offer advice and support where necessary.

The service was developed to address the fact that patients, often elderly, were travelling quite a distance in some cases to attend a ten minute appointment.  This was frustrating both for the patients and the oncology team.

Kirsty explained: “I felt that there had to be a better way of working which benefitted both patients and the service and that led me to establish the telephone review. The initiative is about improving care, it’s about better utilisation of consultants’ time and ensuring that the patients are seen in a more timely manner.”

Since May 2014, the clinic has reviewed more than 330 men and in an evaluation 89% said they prefer telephone review to attending outpatient clinics.

Kirsty continued: “Older men in particular are often less willing to ask for help, believing ‘Doctor Knows Best’. They were unsure who to go to if they had a problem and I was concerned that they would leave the care pathway after treatment.

I find that the patients are generally very receptive, they appreciate that someone is taking the time to listen.  They know that I will call them after their appointment and they find it reassuring that they can ring me if they have any problems.  They also like the continuity.”

The telephone review takes a holistic approach, looking at patients’ emotional and physical wellbeing and how they’re managing at home.  A care plan is made available to the patient after each review and they can also be referred to counsellors, psychologists or other support services they perhaps weren’t previously aware of.

Kirsty feels it is important to offer support after treatment and has also run two ‘transition‘ groups for men and their partners/ wives coverings topics such as health and wellbeing, exercise, stress management and a patient’s ‘new normal’

7th October 2016

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