Huntingdonshire collaborates to improve mobility for cancer survivors

By 2030, if current trends continue, nearly four million people will be living with cancer in the UK and in Huntingdonshire, a collaboration has been established to offer enhanced support for cancer survivors.

A recent National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) publication (July 2017) describes how physical activity in the community improves mobility for cancer survivors, which reinforced the work delivered by the Huntingdonshire collaboration, supported by Eastern AHSN.

The Hunts Community Cancer Network (HCCN) is a collaboration combining a charity and community cancer nursing team, with a learning centre, supported by volunteers. Together, they deliver an enhanced home-based nursing service to patients recovering from or living with cancer. They support patients to take back their lives and play an active role in managing their health through providing rehabilitation and wellness classes, peer-support and mentoring.

The research highlighted that cancer survivors experience changes to their physical function resulting from cancer and its treatments. Therefore, restoring functionality can help maintain independence.

HCCN has established “Get Active” cancer rehabilitation classes which take place three times a week, led by a qualified personal trainer who is a former oncology nurse. The classes are free to patients and we are exploring, in partnership with Huntingdonshire District Council, the establishment of a new phase 4 cancer rehabilitation class to support patients graduate to ongoing community-based exercise, releasing capacity for HCCN to support people who are newly diagnosed.

To help patients track their participation in classes and general changes in their health and wellbeing, the charity has partnered with a local innovator providing remote monitoring equipment. Aseptika Ltd provide their Activ8rlives (A8) platform and class participants can also take up use of a BuddyBand2 activity tracker. HCCN uses the Clinician Portal of A8 to monitor adherence to exercise and to see early warning signs of relapse. Daily levels of physical activity and changes in weight are good proxies for general wellness.

“I can honestly say, the BuddyBand2 and HCCN have saved my life” – Patient representative, January 2017.

Eastern AHSN began working in partnership with HCCN in April and is supporting the charity as it expands the functionality of the A8 system to more comprehensively track patient progress. Increasing report automation will release time for staff to care for more patients, providing additional education, mental and emotional support during treatment or post recovery. The AHSN has also provided the charity with access to Patient Activation Measure licenses, to monitor and measure the impact of the programme and is funding training for HDC personal trainers to develop the skills needed to take on phase 4 classes from later in the year.

If you have been affected with a recent diagnosis of cancer and live in the Huntingdonshire area (St Neots, Huntingdon, St Ives, Ramsey and Sawtry) and would like to Get Active with HCCN, you can make contact with the charity via their website: www.hccn.org.uk

For more information on this project please contact us at: STPsupport@eahsn.org

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