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Booklet to help nurses with end of life care for pancreatic cancer

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A new booklet on end of life care in pancreatic cancer has been launched with the aim of helping nurse and other healthcare professionals to support patients and their loved ones.

The charity Pancreatic Cancer UK said the booklet included information about the symptoms people with pancreatic cancer may get towards the end of their life and how to manage these.

“This resource will be an enormous help to patients and families because it is pancreas specific”

Jeni Jones

It also includes information about how to access the care and support they might need, dealing with the emotional impact of dying from pancreatic cancer, and specific information for family members.

The charity launched the booklet after hearing from nurses and others that patients had struggled to find the right tailored information specifically about end of life in pancreatic cancer.

The free resource, which is Information Standard accredited, has been reviewed by healthcare professionals to ensure all information included is accurate and up to date, said the charity.

In addition, it noted that people who have had a loved one die from pancreatic cancer also took part in the review process, to ensure the content was relevant and easy to understand.

“I think it’ll prove to be very useful for myself and other healthcare professionals caring for these patients and families”

Sarah Galbraith

Jeni Jones, a pancreatic cancer nurse specialist at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “Although there is a lot of general information available about cancer and end of life care, this resource will be an enormous help to patients and families because it is pancreas specific.

“Sadly, I think the resource will be very pertinent due to the high number of pancreatic cancer patients who will have been given a life limiting prognosis,” noted Ms Jones.

“It’s wonderful we can now signpost patients, their families and healthcare professionals to this information when they need specific support or have questions about the last few months of life with pancreatic cancer,” she said.

Dr Sarah Galbraith, a consultant in palliative medicine at Cambridge University Hospitals, added: “In the past I’ve been unable to give patients and their loved ones tailored, reliable information specific to their pancreatic cancer diagnosis when they have been told it is incurable.

Pancreatic Cancer UK

Pancreatic Cancer UK

Jeni Jones

“This is a valuable resource for people who are going through the last months, weeks or days of life themselves, or with a loved one,” she said. “I think it’ll prove to be very useful for myself and other healthcare professionals caring for these patients and families.”

Dr Galbraith highlighted that pancreatic cancer had the lowest survival rate of all the 20 common cancers and that less than 7% of people diagnosed survived beyond five years.

“It is ideal that Pancreatic Cancer UK has provided healthcare professionals with a trustworthy and reliable resource to answer questions and address concerns,” she added.

The booklet – titled Pancreatic cancer and end of life care: information for people in the last few months, weeks or days of life – can be downloaded or ordered from the Pancreatic Cancer UK website.

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