The Northern Trust has developed a telephone review clinic for men with prostate cancer post radiotherapy.
The service involvesMacmillan 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 which was frustrating both for the patients and the oncology team.
Kirsty said: “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 added: “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.