Enhanced Supportive Care is a new initiative aimed at addressing more fully the needs of those with an incurable cancer – in particular, preventing and managing the adverse physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment.
Developed by specialists at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, it has been found to benefit those newly diagnosed cancer patients. It is now a national project, with the service being introduced to hospitals across the country.
Michael Thomas is the Lead Nurse Specialist for Enhanced Supportive Care at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals. Michael and his team look at supporting patients across a range of potential concerns, as he explains:
“Enhanced Supportive Care helps support patients to make choices appropriate for them, both now and in the future. As continuity of care for our patients, we work closely with the Oncology medical teams and specialist nurses and develop strong links with the community Specialist Palliative Care multi-disciplinary team, meeting with them twice weekly at their MDT’s. There are specific criteria for the patients who will come under our care, but in the main, we will work with those newly diagnosed with an incurable stage 4 or metastatic cancer.”
As part of their work, the team addresses a variety of different concerns, including:
- Consent from the patient for emergency supportive care input and continuation and Initial Assessment
- Pain and other symptom control needs
- Their concerns, including any issues around their treatment plans
- Their psychological response to diagnosis, anxiety/depression symptoms and re-referral as needed
- Advance Care Planning in order to help them identify their needs and wishes for their future care
- Their daily needs/abilities and re-referral to colleagues or other Allied Healthcare Professional as needed
Enhanced Supportive Care also covers speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dietetics.
Amy Glen, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist for Enhanced Support Care, explains: “Within the team, our role is focused on supporting patients with difficulties that may arise from diagnosis. This could be support for people who are having difficulties with their voice, their speech, their language use, or their swallow function. For each of us, the aim is to improve patient’s difficulties with a hope of improving their quality of life.”
Ingrid Watmough, Physiotherapist for Enhanced Supportive Care, adds: “As with the Occupation Therapist and the Dietician, the role of the Physiotherapist as part of the team involves many things. For me, it could be advice on management of breathlessness, assessment of balance and mobility, advice on pain management and graded exercise can be offered. Also advice on maintaining and improving levels of activity, and providing strength and endurance training programmes. However, we can also give more general advice and support to help a person who is living with cancer.”
“The cancer groups we work with are expanding,” Michael concludes. “Currently we take referrals from those with a lung, upper gastro-intestinal and hepatobiliary cancers, cancers of an unknown origin, as well as brain and breast cancers. Referrals reach us from several sources, including RADAR, Maxims, face to face and the Enhanced Supportive Care e-mail. As a team, we are always happy to discuss any case.”
For more information on the Enhanced Supportive Care service please contact:
Michael Thomas – Lead Nurse Specialist ESC – 07826935824
Amy Glen – Specialist Speech and Language Therapist ESC – 07436685586
Ingrid Watmough – Physiotherapist ESC – 07436693957
Katrina Martinelli – Specialist Dietician ESC – 07436696345
Holly Collins – Regional Occupational Therapist ESC – 07436691335