A pioneering West Cumbrian community nursing project is up and running and urging anyone affected by cancer to reach out and receive the vital care and support that is available to them.
The Macmillan Community Cancer Nursing Service (MCCN), one of the first of its kind in the country, is being piloted in West Cumbria where there is a higher prevalence of cancer.
Kerry Hawke, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse, heads the team and also leads and supports cancer strategy across the whole of North Cumbria.
Kerry, who has been nursing for 19 years, including working in specialist cancer teams in the UK and Australia, said: “We are a team of cancer nurses and cancer wellbeing coaches who want to empower all cancer patients throughout West Cumbria, as well as their family and carers, to find the best way through, and live as fully as they can.
“We want to put the patient at the heart of everything we do.
“We will be there from diagnosis and will work very closely with other health and care professionals to deliver personalised, responsive and seamless care in the community.
“We embody Macmillan’s belief that no one should face cancer alone.”
Launched last year, in partnership with national charity Macmillan Cancer Support and the local NHS in West Cumbria, the service is aimed at all cancer patients, their family and carers.
It was set up to provide holistic care and support people living with cancer in the community with tailored cancer care, support and advice with a focus on the psychological, and physical, impact of cancer.
Now the specialist team of cancer matrons, nurses and wellbeing coaches, is encouraging anyone who is being treated for or living with cancer to contact the service and self-refer, and receive the more personalized care available in their community.
The service is provided across West Cumbria, through home visits, over the phone and virtually, as well as locations in Copeland, Keswick and Solway, Maryport and Cockermouth, and Workington.
Among the services the specialist team can offer, include:
- Support and advice with the physical, psychological and social impact of cancer
- Assistance with the care of PICC/Hickman lines, Portacaths, drains or stomas
- Blood tests prior to chemotherapy or immunotherapy
- Holistic needs assessments to help develop a personalised care plan
- Assessment of health needs if feeling unwell due to side effects of cancer treatments
Tina Thompson, Macmillan’s Partnership Manager for North Cumbria, who helped develop the pilot project, added: “We engaged with the local community, and potential service users, and worked closely with our NHS partners and healthcare experts to help develop this unique service, which aims to make a positive impact and improve the overall patient experience.
“However, since the pandemic, it’s become even more vital that people living with cancer are given the tailored support they need that is specific to them and the MCCN team is urging anyone affected by cancer to contact them and reach out for the support that is available to them right now.”
A mum from West Cumbria, who does not want to be named, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer two years ago, has backed the service and the support it offers locally.
She says: “It’s reassuring to have this service and support network on our doorstep.
“Anything that can help people living with cancer in areas like West Cumbria and is delivered in the heart of the local community, which can help improve their experience and potentially outcomes, can only be a good thing and will make such a massive difference to so many peoples’ lives.”
Alternatively, for further information visit: https://www.ncic.nhs.uk/services/macmillan-community-cancer