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136 Empowering patients and carers: a programme to encourage ‘thinking ahead’ in the supportive phase of a palliative cancer diagnosis
  1. Kath Lambert,
  2. Charlotte Rock,
  3. Wendy Whitaker and
  4. Janet O’Brien
  1. Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust


Background The Harrogate and District Hospital Health and Wellbeing Project has successfully delivered education programmes to patients living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. In 2018 the Palliative Care Team (PCT) was approached to develop a programme with focus on patients with a palliative diagnosis and their carers.

The aims of the programme include: to keep patients as well as possible for as long as possible; offer support to carers; provide information on local services; discuss advance care planning (ACP) and choices for future care.

Methods The programme is delivered by a range of professionals (e.g. PCT (Consultant and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)), Psychologist, Welfare and Benefits Specialist, Carers Resource, Occupational Therapy). Referral is by Oncologist or Cancer CNS. Referral criteria includes: a palliative diagnosis for at least two months; palliative treatment or best supportive care and likely to be in the last year of life. Patients must be well enough to attend three two hour sessions over a six week period. Patients and their carer can either attend alone, together or the carer can attend alone. Maximum number of attendees is 12 per programme.

Results Three programmes have been delivered in 2018. Total number of attendees is 26. The patients had a range of diagnoses. Drop-out for those who have attended the first session is very low. The programme has evaluated extremely well. Sessions are reported to be informative and interesting. It has facilitated discussion of ACP in an environment with attendees supporting each other. Knowledge of local services and options for future care has resulted in informed decision making.

Conclusions The ‘Thinking ahead’ programme will continue in 2019 with an increase in number of sessions to meet increasing referrals. The model has the potential to be developed for patients with a non-malignant diagnosis.

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