Northern Trust toolkit aims to enhance wellbeing of advanced cancer patients

A new online toolkit for people with advanced cancer has been developed by the Northern Health
and Social Care Trust.

Inspired by patient feedback, and designed alongside local service users, its focus is on living well
and supporting the best quality of life.

The series of videos are all led by healthcare professionals who provide a wide range of practical
guidance and advice so people feel better equipped and have greater confidence around
managing their wellbeing.

Explaining more, Alison Craig, the Northern Trust’s Macmillan Palliative Care Service
Improvement Facilitator, said: “The idea for the toolkit came from one of our patients who told us
that she could not find resources that really met her needs when she was diagnosed with
advanced cancer. We met with her and others in this situation and they helped us create this

“While a palliative diagnosis isn’t curable, people can live with their condition for years and
continue to receive treatment. It’s important we support them so that they can live as well as
possible, for as long as possible.

“With this in mind, the toolkit features a range of specialists from both the oncology and palliative
care worlds, including dietitians, psychologists and physiotherapists, and other organisations
including Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Focus. There are sections with information on
local services and other organisations that can support people living in our trust.

“It touches on all aspects of wellbeing, including physical, social, psychological, emotional and
spiritual. We want people to approach it like a library, choosing the elements which best serve
their needs at any given time.

“The videos and resources are all easily accessible on our website and we hope they’ll also be
useful for family members and friends as well.

“We’ve been really encouraged by how the new resource has been received so far, and the
Palliative Care Service Improvement team is committed to working with service users to develop it
further as we know there are lots more topics of interest that we could cover. We’ve included a
feedback form within the toolkit so as people use it they can also suggest further topics that we
could include.

“Listening to the experiences of those living with advanced cancer is hugely important, and their
input has been crucial. Hopefully what we have created together will make a real difference to our
future patients as well and I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to
the initiative so far.”

Helen McGarvey was one of the service users involved in the production of the toolkit.
She said: “It’s really important that patients’ views are considered. Patients see things that staff
don’t see. We understand how we like to be spoken to and we are the experts of our own
condition. So if we can contribute to resources like this it makes it a really rich resource for other
people to use.”

Some of the videos available in the toolkit, and the professionals involved, include:

 Eating well to keep well – specialist palliative care dietitian
 Coping with serious illness – clinical psychologist, cancer services
 Physical activity and advanced cancer – specialist palliative care physiotherapist
 Information and advice on financial support – Macmillan benefits advisor
 Spirituality – Macmillan chaplain
 Body Image and Sexuality – Cancer Focus counsellor

To browse the toolkit go to

Please view the gallery below for some images from the launch of the toolkit.

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