Innovative approach to helping patients’ radiotherapy recovery

Cancer patients who need radiotherapy treatment are being given support to improve and speed up their recovery in Lincolnshire’s hospitals.

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Cancer patients who need radiotherapy treatment are being given support to improve and speed up their radiotherapy recovery in Lincolnshire’s hospitals.

The cancer enhanced recovery sessions run by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust are for patients about to start radiotherapy treatment. At these sessions they find out important information on their treatment, side effects and well-being to improve their recovery.

The fortnightly sessions are open to all of the 1,700 patients preparing for radiotherapy treatment for cancer in Lincolnshire each year. A therapy radiographer and a specialist occupational therapist run them.

Since the programme was launched in November 2014, 552 people have attended and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

A recent survey of those who attended revealed that 81% of people found the sessions to be excellent and 77% said it helped them to feel more confident about coping through their radiotherapy treatment.

Macmillan Specialist Occupational Therapist Helen Fieldson said: “Delivering the session before treatment is about making sure patients feel prepared for their radiotherapy which gives them and their families a better experience. This enhanced recovery approach can also help reduce the risk of developing future health and social care needs.

“Anyone who needs radiotherapy is invited to come along to a session and can book a place through the radiotherapy department. The content is all about making sure people who are planned for treatment are informed about what they will face and how it might affect them; with the aim of supporting them and their family to achieve the best possible outcomes before, during and after radiotherapy.”

The session covers radiotherapy, potential side effects and how to manage these, exercise, work, emotional wellbeing and support that is available.

Patient Gini Smith said: “It was a brilliant session. It helped me to think positively and helped me to get involved in new activities that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”

Norman Jackson said: “I find it is impossible to put into suitable words the benefits of the seminar. Well thought out, well planned and delivered with the compassion that I am pleased to have received from the ULH during this time.”