A cancer nurse is to investigate patient adherence to exercise before surgery to aid subsequent recovery, as part of a programme to support a wider range of clinical staff to undertake research.
Venetia Wynter-Blyth, a Macmillan nurse consultant at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is one of three new fellows to join Imperial College London’s research fellowship scheme this year.
“There is a recognised need to prepare patients and engage them with their care”
She will be exploring adherence to exercise as part of so-called “pre-habilitation”, which focuses on the nutritional, psychological and physical needs of patients to help them better withstand the stress of surgery.
Exercise is viewed as a fundamental aspect of prehabilitation and, in order to derive maximum benefit, it is seen as important that patients adhere to the prescribed programme.
Imperial College Healthcare has its own prehabilitation programe called PREPARE for cancer patients.
Since the launch of the programme in 2015. It has reported a reduction in post-operative complications experienced and a reduction in length of stay in hospital.
Ms Wynter-Blyth will undertake an exploratory study to better understand what the barriers and facilitators are to exercise in a surgical prehabilitation programme.
“This year’s recipients are working on a diverse range of projects which could have real benefits for patients”
The results of the study will be used to streamline and personalise the prehabilitation programme at Imperial College Healthcare.
Ms Wynter-Blyth said: “More people are surviving cancer due to advances in treatments. However, there is a recognised need to prepare patients and engage them with their care at the earliest possible opportunity so that they can manage their symptoms.
“The results of this study could help us make further changes to our PREPARE programme so we can better support patients through their cancer treatment,” she said.
It is the fourth year that the fellowship scheme has taken place. Ms Wynter-Blyth will be joined in the scheme this year by a speech therapist and a sonographer.
Their projects will look at using ultrasound techniques to diagnose liver disease more effectively, and investigating swallowing and voice outcomes in patients with a rare airway disorder.
The scheme was set up in 2014 to give the trust’s nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, pharmacists and healthcare scientists the same clinical academic training opportunities as doctors.
Nurse joins London scheme to boost research opportunities
Recipients have the opportunity to develop their research skills and experience so that they can apply for a Masters or PhD and progress in their clinical academic career.
The three fellowships are worth up to £50,000 each and are jointly funded by the Imperial College Health Charity and the Imperial NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.
Waljit Dhillo, professor in endocrinology and metabolism at Imperial College London, said: “I am very pleased to welcome this year’s new fellows to the research fellowship scheme.
“Research can lead to better clinical practices and our allied health professionals have a unique perspective on patient healthcare and ideas on how we can address challenges in delivering effective care,” he said.
“This year’s recipients are working on a diverse range of projects which could have real benefits for patients,” he added.