A pilot scheme has been launched in Norfolk designed to bring more specialist cancer care into community settings.
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust has set up a new team of five community cancer nurses to visit patients in their own homes and ensure their needs are met.
Under the pilot, which forms part of the wider Transforming Cancer Care in the Community Project, the nurses are each currently working with a case load of 40 patients who are recovering from cancer.
The aim is that they act as a “point of contact”, helping patients to deal with the long-term consequences of cancer, promote self-management, answer any clinical questions and offer emotional support.
It is hoped this will aid recovery, enabling patients to live as independently as possible, including returning to work where appropriate.
The team is also providing support to people who are still undergoing treatment or who have developed palliative care needs.
According to the trust, the nurses in this part of the project are “acting as a bridge between services” provided by the trust and its partners.
Overall, the pilot aims to help patients to access more specialist care, advice and information in their own homes, while reducing the need for them to go into hospital or see their GP unnecessarily.
“Our team will help to answer any questions patients and their carers may have”
Kerry Jones, a team lead in the trust’s west locality, is leading the pilot for the organisation.
She said: “This pilot is enabling patients who have been diagnosed with cancer to access even more joined up, specialist care in the comfort of their own home and in their local community.
“Our team will help to answer any questions patients and their carers may have, which will hopefully allay their fears, and ensure they are able to easily access the support they need from both our trust and our partners.”
The overall project is being run for two years by the Anglia Cancer Network and covers seven pilot areas..
The west Norfolk pilot began towards the end of last year and is due to run until 2015. Funding was provided by the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
The pilot will be evaluated by University of East Anglia researchers, who will consider whether community-based care is better for patients, more cost-effective and reduces a reliance on hospitals.
- For more information on the pilot visit the Anglia Cancer Network website