National Advocacy Unit: 12 June 2013
Sláinte an Chláir, Clare Cancer Support announces the support of the HSE National Advocacy Unit in developing as a high quality model of person-centred community-based cancer support in the Clare area, (A Quality Development Initiative).
Background to the quality development initiative
More and more Irish people are living with and beyond cancer; one in three of us is now likely to be diagnosed with cancer at some time over our lifetime. Cancer is increasingly an illness which might be cured or which might be treated as a long-term condition that the person can live with for many years. It is therefore important that the increasing numbers of people living with and beyond cancer, their carers and their families have the support and services they need to resume as normal a life as possible following cancer-treatment. The dramatic improvements in cancer survival rates mean that we have to challenge our perceptions and beliefs about cancer.
The focus of cancer care services is now shifting to focus on supporting people’s recovery, health and well-being both during and after cancer treatment. We need more information on the types of support and services this particular group of people need to help them live as healthy and active a life as possible and for as long as possible.
Community-based services such as Sláinte an Chláir, Clare Cancer Support have an important role to play in supporting people affected by cancer in their local communities.
The HSE National Advocacy Unit, under the auspices of the National Healthcare Charter, You and Your Health Service, is delighted to support Sláinte an Chláir in developing a high quality model of person-centred community-based cancer support in Clare. Clare Cancer Support works to empower and support people, their families and friends, through their journey with cancer and beyond. Clare Cancer Support, in partnership with the HSE and other services can ensure everyone affected by cancer have access to high quality person-centred cancer support in the community. This working partnership will ultimately help improve the quality of healthcare for people affected by cancer in the Clare area.
Mr. Greg Price, National HSE Director of Advocacy, visited Sláinte an Chláir, the Clare Cancer Support Centre on Wednesday 12 June 2013.
Mr Price stated “the HSE Advocacy Unit is delighted to support Sláinte an Chláir in developing a person-centred model of community-based cancer support in the Clare area”. Mr. Price said the National Healthcare Charter, You and Your Health Service, reiterates the importance of partnership approaches between everyone involved in healthcare, patients/service-users, families, carers, healthcare services including community-based support services such as Sláinte an Chláir, has a very important role to play in improving the quality of healthcare in Ireland.
Mr. Price explained that the National Healthcare Charter aims to support a healthcare culture that delivers health and social care in a predictable, preventative, personal and participatory manner, all of which are the hallmarks of high quality person-centred healthcare.” He said that “community-based groups such as Sláinte an Chláir, Clare Cancer Support are important partners in achieving the goal of the National Healthcare Charter at local levels.”
Mr Price said that research over the last 25 years demonstrates that community-based support groups are an effective method in helping people to cope with cancer. This research indicates that support groups can help to improve people’s quality of life and even increase survival outcomes.
The research also demonstrates that support groups help to reduce the three most important sources of stress associated with cancer: i) loneliness;ii)loss of control andiii) loss of hope. Research conducted in the Cancer Support Centre Community in the US, found that people who participate in support groups, either face-to-face, telephone or online, report significant reductions in depression and anxiety levels and increased zest for life and more positive attitudes on their illness.
Mr Price said he was delighted and privileged to meet with the members of Clare Cancer Support and that he felt very moved on hearing individuals’ personal experiences of cancer and the health services.
He believed these experiences highlighted some very practical issues that could improve the quality of people’s experiences within the health services. He said he was particularly struck by individuals experiences in attending hospital appointments.
Members recalled how their hospital appointments often entailed walking long distances from the car park to the various hospital departments and how these appointments often took the whole day. Members suggested hospital departments could be more comfortable and person-centred in terms of the environment, seating, food and drink facilities. Many individuals reported that they ‘felt the cold more during their cancer treatment’.
Members also highlighted to Mr Price the impact of cancer on their immediate family, especially at times when they were very unwell. Members said cancer care services needed to consider the care needs of the immediate family of the person with cancer.
Mr Price said he was left in no doubt as to the importance of Sláinte an Chláir, Clare Cancer Support for people affected by Cancer in the Clare Area. The centre provides a home from home for many people; a place where people are always welcome to drop-in for a cup of tea and a chat, which was very important to everyone he met. Family and friends are always welcome here too. Mr Price said that value of Clare Cancer Support was reflected in the many of the testimonials he had read (end of document). He said People with Cancer need places like Sláinte an Chláir, where they can access high quality, safe, psychological, social and emotional support. No one should have to face cancer alone and this is why the HSE Advocacy Unit is working with Sláinte an Chláir. (Ref to UK Model of Community-based Cancer Support)
Details of the National Advocacy Unit’s support for the Clare Cancer Support Quality Development Programme:
Mr Price said that the HSE NAU wanted to acknowledge and support the good work of Clare Cancer Support and that he wanted to support the centre to continue this important work. He then outlined details of how the HSE Advocacy Unit will support Clare Cancer Support with the following quality development initiatives;
Advocacy Support: the NAU will support Sláinte an Chláir to develop its advocacy role and capacity, working to ensure people’s experiences of cancer and the health services are captured and managed appropriately in partnership with the health services in terms of the HSE Your Service Your Say Policy. Service-users experiences help to identify the issues that are important to patients and their families and in turn provide important measures of the quality of healthcare services.
Partnership working to develop a high quality person centred model of community-based support for people affected by cancer in the Clare area. The Advocacy Unit will continue to foster working relationships and partnership approaches between Sláinte an Chláir - Clare Cancer Support Centre, healthcare providers, and other service providers in the region: Ultimately aiming to ensure that all people affected by cancer are informed and aware of Clare Cancer Support and that they know how to contact the centre, when required. A People Caring for People Approach.
Sustainability- supporting Clare Cancer Support to develop robust business plans in order to maintain the long-term sustainability of the centre and the development of a person-centred model of community-based cancer support in the Clare area.
Members’ testimonials provide important insights on the importance of Sláinte an Chláir in helping people to cope with cancer and beyond
"Sláinte an Chláir has it just right’… the heart of the centre is the kitchen and the table- always welcome, cup of tea", Theresa
"The centre enables men to gather together and enjoy a cup of tea while talking about any subject and sometimes our illness and treatment come up", Thomas
"A little piece of heaven", Anne
"A home from home", Marie
"A piece of sunshine on a dark day", Caroline
"A ray of hope in times of darkness", Teresa
"When the day seems dark always a smile, support and a chat", Margaret
"The peace, tranquillity and friendliness in itself a tonic to me", Mary
"Its the camaraderie of new friends who understand where you're coming from. Its just not all about the illness", Thomas
"During and after the medical stuff men need support too and a bit of craic. Join us at Cancer Man to Man when misery isn't the order of the day", Tony