The Colorectal Nursing Team are experienced nurses who specialise in the care of patients with colorectal Cancer (Cancerous tumours of the bowel or back passage), we also advise and support patients with complex benign colorectal conditions of the bowel or rectum. On your initial referral to the service you will be allocated a Key worker, this is a nurse who works closely with you and your Consultant/Oncologist and will assist in the co-ordination of your care. If your nurse is unavailable we work very much as a team and any of the other nurses would be happy to help. Your key worker and her colleagues are your main point of contact at every stage of your illness.
How can we help?
• Providing Support
We provide support to you and your relatives at any stage of your illness this may be face to face or by being available on the telephone if you need to call. We aim to be present at diagnosis and you can expect to meet your nurse subsequently either in the outpatient clinic or if you are admitted to hospital. We are contactable by telephone or email. We appreciate how difficult this time can be and in advance if you prefer face to face contact we can make arrangements to see you to discuss any aspects of your cancer care.
• Providing Information
We can offer you further information both verbal and written about your condition, investigations and treatment, we will discuss your individualised treatment plan a copy of which will be faxed to your GP and you can receive a copy of this if you wish. We can also offer you a copy of the letter that will be sent to your General Practioner (GP) following your discussion with the consultant, if you would like this please ask at your consultation.
• Providing Advice
We can offer advice if you have difficult decisions to make about treatment, and give you support through this process. We can offer advice about symptoms you may be suffering from such as constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite or pain. Or you may have practical issues that you need support with and we can signpost you to the most appropriate services for example, financial concerns, housing or Occupational therapy needs.
• Providing a Link
We provide a link with your Consultant and other Health care professionals both in the hospital and community and other members of the multidisciplinary team such as Stoma Nurses, Dieticians, District Nurses and Social Workers. We also work closely with other agencies such as Macmillan and DWP (department of work and pensions) and we can access their help on your behalf if required. We can help to co-ordinate these appointments at this difficult time.
• Follow up
The follow up of post-operative cancer patients has until recently traditionally been undertaken by the Consultant/Doctor in the outpatient clinic setting. An increasing number of Colorectal Nurse Specialists (CNS) are now running follow up clinics based upon a patient centred supportive model.
The CNS is able to order investigations under supervision of the Clinician including scans, blood tests and colonoscopies. This helps in the smooth running of your follow up, making sure scans are done at correct intervals and the appropriate surveillance is undertaken.
• Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA)
People affected by cancer can be impacted in a variety of ways. ‘Holistic’ means whole, which includes your physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial well-being. Often patients do not raise issues important to them with their Doctors. A Holistic needs assessment is a process to enable you to share any concerns or issues which may impact on your cancer journey, this process can help your nurse to target support as and when it is needed. You do not need to undertake a HNA but patients often find it opens up discussions with their nurse about concerns which may otherwise not have been addressed. If You feel a HNA would be of help please talk to your key worker and she can organise this at any point of your cancer journey. HNA are routinely carried out during your follow up and this can be undertaken with informal chatting or can follow a more formal questioning format we can follow which ever method your prefer. You will find further information about this in your pack provided at your first consultation.
• Information Prescription
We strive for our patients to receive optimal appropriate verbal and written information throughout their contact with our service. Good information is information given at the right time, in the right amount which is personalised reliable and understandable. This helps the patient to given truly informed consent and make considered decisions about their care and treatment. An information prescription is a tailor made set of information specific to you it is given in various formats for example, verbal, booklets, leaflets and email via interactive information prescription system hosted by NHS choices you can visit the web site at www.nhs.uk/ips if you require more information regarding this please speak to your key worker or refer to the information prescription literature provided in your patient pack.
• Treatment Summary
The Treatment summary has been developed to support improved communication between Cancer Services (The Hospital) and Primary Care (Your GP).
The Treatment Summary is completed at the end of treatment by the hospital and sent to the GP with a copy to the patient if requested. This includes a simple summary of the Patients cancer diagnosis treatment and on-going management plan.
It is likely you will receive a large amount of information before, during and after your surgery. It is normal to have questions that you would like answering.