From the moment you are diagnosed with cancer, you should have a plan for care and support that allows you to live as well as possible during and after your cancer treatment.
Personalised care aims to support you to:
- Work in partnership with your clinician and care team and making decisions together;
- Understand your options and feel confident when choosing;
- Build your knowledge, skills and confidence;
- Connect you with other people or organisations in your community for support;
- Design your own plan supported by professionals;
- Manage your own money and budget, with help if you need.
You can expect five steps to your personalised cancer care:
To find out what matters to you, your clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or support worker will offer you an assessment of your needs.
This is often called a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA) and should be offered to you soon after your diagnosis and at other significant times, such as at the end of a phase of treatment.
A Holistic Needs Assessment gives you the opportunity to think about and discuss your needs. These might be physical, practical, emotional or social. It helps you identify and prioritise what matters most to you and what you might need support with.
You can complete this assessment face to face with your health care professional, over the phone, or in your own time by an email or text link.
Once completed, your clinical nurse specialist or support worker will talk through the assessment with you and create a care plan with you. This plan will include the information and support you need.
Information and support is available to help you during and beyond your cancer treatment, and can help with:
- emotional support
- coping with side effects
- physical wellbeing
- advice about money
- getting back to work
- making healthy lifestyle choices
It is important that you get the support and help you need to live as well as possible after treatment. Your CNS, support worker, or cancer information centre will be able to help you with information.
You should receive a call from your GP in the first three months of being diagnosed to offer help with any needs that you have.
In addition, a Cancer Care Review takes place at your GP practice either with the GP or practice nurse usually within the first 6 to 12 months after your diagnosis. Your review should include:
- talking about your diagnosis and current needs and any worries you may have;
- any extra support you might need;
- a review of your medication;
- giving you access to other services you may need, such as counsellors, rehabilitation specialists or social prescribers
If you have concerns at any point during or after your cancer treatment you can always contact your GP or practice nurse.
When you reach the end of a period of treatment, you should receive a ‘Treatment Summary’.
Your Treatment Summary will include:
- your diagnosis;
- the treatment you received;
- any follow-up arrangements;
- possible long-term effects or complications;
- signs and symptoms to look out for;
- details of who to get in touch with if you need support or are worried about anything.
Your GP will also get a copy of your summary.
Quality of life can include your emotions, social life, money, or physical wellbeing. The quality of life survey is sent by Public Health England 18 months after your diagnosis and can help you identify support needs you still have. Please fill in the questionnaire and discuss support needs with your GP or nurse.
If you want more information about personalised care or you haven’t received any part of it, talk to your clinical nurse specialist. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, call the cancer information centre for your hospital who will help you get the support you need.
Please see below the diagram of what to expect throughout your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.