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Specialist nurses asked to offer reflection diaries to cancer patients

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Cancer nurses are being encouraged to offer patients diaries to record their thoughts and reflections, as part of an initiative to help them through their treatment.

The diaries, launched to mark World Blood Cancer Day on 28 May, have been designed to provide a reflective space for patients to think about and record their thoughts and feelings.

“It is important that we empower patients by helping them to engage in self-directed ways of coping”

Andie Guy

They provide blank pages for patients to note down new symptoms or treatment side effects, and can be kept as a private tool or used as a reference aid when talking to health professionals.

A glossary explaining key blood cancer terms can be found at the beginning of the diary, and there is a useful list of questions for patients to ask their treatment team at the back. In addition, comments from blood cancer patients are scattered throughout the book, offering tips and supportive suggestions.

Specialist blood cancer charity Bloodwise is behind the initiative. Its head of patient experience Reta Brownlow said: “Our research shows that many blood cancer patients would like more emotional and psychological support.

Diary

Keeping up to date

“We are here to provide support every step of the way and we hope that these diaries will be useful,” she said.

Andie Guy, a myeloma and related plasma cell disorders clinical nurse specialist at Barts Hospital and member of Bloodwise’s nursing advisory panel, said: “While clinical nurse specialists and psychological therapies provide much support, it is important that we empower patients by helping them to engage in self-directed ways of coping.

“Having a space to record and reflect on all aspects of their experience, including psychological wellbeing as well as physical symptoms and treatment side effects, will be helpful and cathartic for many of my patients and might also help in conversations with health professionals,” she said.

To order copies of the diary, email support@bloodwise.org.uk

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