This week (27 Nov- 3 Dec), Macmillan Scotland is putting a spotlight on the Transforming Care After Treatment (TCAT) programme which set out to ensure people affected by cancer receive the best care, both in health and social care.
Since the programme launched in 2013, 25 projects have been testing new models of care and Fife is one of them.
Fife Health and Social Care Partnership and NHS Fife teams have been a key part of Macmillan’s national programme of work to help improve the experience for those diagnosed and living with cancer.
A key initiative saw the Health and Social Care Partnership create new two Local Area Co-ordinator roles where the focus is to support people in the community, who are living with cancer, in a much more integrated way and at grassroots level.
Known as the Integrated Community Cancer Care (ICCC) Project, those who were diagnosed with cancer and who agreed to be referred to a Local Area Co-ordinator, could start to receive practical support such as help with forms, linking in with local supporting charities, help access services as well as being a listening ear for both patient and carer. This valuable role offers helps meet the holistic needs of the person by offering time, support to navigate the health and social work system takes into consideration the social, financial and emotional needs, in addition to the medical interventions that are required.
Referral routes opened at the beginning of April 2016 and in its first year, the project team has received 183 referrals. Of these 165 service users and 18 carers were seen by a Local Area Co-ordinator.
Sharon Breeze and Mary Lynch, the Local Area Co-ordinators in Fife talk about their experience in the pilot and how the new approach has helped empower people to take control of their lives and promote inclusion into local communities:
“We can take the time to work with people to build confidence and accompany them to make the connections with local groups and organisations. says Mary.
An important area of our work is to offer peer to peer support sessions. Patients can discuss their cancer journey with a patient representative who has gone through the same process to highlight good areas of practice and areas which could be improved.”
Sharon added: “We are also working with families and carers as the effects of a cancer diagnosis are not confined to the patient and it can be a stressful time for everyone involved. Being able to support families is a beneficial part of the work being carried out and this is being well received by those families we are currently working with.”
So what happens now?
The vision for the Fife is for service to build on the success of the ICCC project and ensure that everyone diagnosed with cancer in Fife can easily access all the support they need, as soon as they need it, to enable them to live as well and as independently as possible.
Positive Destination – A case study
“My journey began with a phone call from Mary. We made a few appointments but I was always so anxious and cancelled them. Mary then decided to come and visit me at home and that’s when I started the TCAT project.
I had a plan to go to college but I was nowhere near ready to be in that kind of environment. Mary took me to visit the college quite a few times and helped me get familiar with the building.
I then applied for a course but it was unfortunately full. I am now looking into volunteering as I think it will help boost my confidence and my self-esteem, it will also give me retail experience that can be useful in the future. The TCAT project has helped me recognise what I want in life and has made me realise what’s important to me.”
*Anonymised case study written by C. who has been working with a TCAT LAC.