More support for our cancer patients to get them through treatment. Nicky Hill and Helen Jones

Prehab is a new way we can support our cancer patients  - before they even start their treatment.

Nicky Hill, pictured right, is our Macmillan Prehabilitation Project Manager and she is looking into how prehab can support our existing care provision and improve the experience for patients.

Prehabilitation starts during the time between a diagnosis and treatment and focuses on positive behaviour changes such as the benefits of physical activity, nutritional advice, psychological wellbeing and smoking cessation and alcohol reduction.

Nicky, said: “The focus is about getting more people through cancer treatment. Prehab can help to improve patients’ health and wellbeing, enabling them to be more equipped to tolerate the side- effects of treatment, such as chemotherapy. We’re focussing on upper GI and lung cancer patients initially and eventually we will develop it across all types of cancer.

“If we’re able to improve a patient’s health and wellbeing, there may be more treatment options available and patients may be able to tolerate treatment better with reduced side-effects.

“This would mean we could see an increase in more people receiving treatment with better outcomes. It also aims to improve the overall experience for patients and their carers/family.”

Together with colleagues, Nicky is looking to establish health and wellbeing events for patients at the point of diagnosis, and the first of these events took place in October, where advice and general information about health and well-being, nutrition, emotional & psychological support as well as prehab information, community resources and clinical staff to give support and advice. 

Lisa Spivey, Partnership Quality Lead in West Yorkshire for Macmillan, said, “We want people to know that Macmillan are there with them from the point of diagnosis. Nicky’s work is helping many people affected by cancer across Huddersfield and West Yorkshire from their first moments of their initial diagnosis.

“The wait between diagnosis and treatment can be very daunting, so the work Nicky is doing is vital in being there alongside patients to let them know how they can effect positive change throughout treatment and beyond.”

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On Friday we have our next First Steps event for newly-diagnosed cancer patients and their families. It is one of the new approaches to how we can offer for more support along the care journey. The dates are this Friday 6th December and Friday 10th January.  Both are at HRI 9.30 - 12pm and booking is via phone to Heather Milner on 01484 343490.

Our Macmillan Information Centre Manager, Helen Jones, also features in a film about how patient feedback has helped shape our Health and Wellbeing programme. Then team held focus groups with patients which showed there was a gap, and that whilst our after-care support was brilliant, more would have liked wellbeing advice earlier on. That feedback, amongst others, helped shape the Next Steps programme (see attached).

Watch her on video here