NHS Highland have partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support to develop two new video resources for people being offered treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and their families.
Focus groups hosted in 2019 by the NHS Highland/Macmillan Person Centred Care Project with people who have been through cancer treatment in the Highlands revealed that visual cues to people and places ahead of cancer treatment would have helped reduce anxiety ahead of a first treatment.
In response to this, the project developed two videos: ‘introduction to chemotherapy’ and ‘introduction to radiotherapy’, to aid understanding of what to expect ahead of their cancer treatment.
Following the COVID pandemic, resulting in increased virtual consultations ahead of cancer treatment, the need for these videos became more acute.
In February 2021, both videos went live on NHS Highland YouTube.
As cancer treatment is offered, this resource is highlighted by NHS Highland staff, with people having the option to watch the videos online from home, or request the video on a free DVD or USB.
A video brochure for people who have no supporting devices or internet facilities at home is also available.
In addition to the video resources, NHS Highland have partnered with Maggies Highland to host group zoom meetings, one ‘introduction to chemotherapy’ and one ‘introduction to radiotherapy’.
In these groups, people about to start chemotherapy or radiotherapy watch the relevant video and discuss the content with each other, a member of staff at Maggies Highland, and NHS Highland staff.
Feedback from participants in the ‘Introduction to chemotherapy’ group at Maggies Highland has been very positive.
One participant said:
“Everything I had wondered or worried about was covered, there are still some things I am worried about but I feel totally reassured that there are lots of people there I can ask and nothing is too little to ask about it.
“This is such a scary time and COVID has made it a lot more difficult to navigate but being able to watch the video with people in the same boat and have a little group of experts on hand to ask questions made both the chemo and the COVID seem a lot more manageable.
“Both my (adult) children and older grandchildren have now watched. All feel better equipped for the next 12 weeks.
“Thank you all.”
Seonaid Green, Maggies Highland Centre Head, said:
“It’s great to be working collaboratively with NHS Highland, Maggies Highland and MacMillan to offer the best support possible for all our patients across the Highlands at the start of their cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“We know that anxiety ahead of starting treatment has been higher than ever over the past year due to COVID restrictions, so it’s especially important that we have this video and virtual support up and running at this time.”
Chrissie Lane, Consultant Nurse for Cancer Care with NHS Highland, said:
“It has been rewarding to work on such a collaborative project.
“A wide range of staff in cancer services in the Highlands were consulted regarding content, and over 30 people treated for cancer in the Highlands gave guidance and feedback as the videos progressed.
“Videos of this kind are a first for Scotland and it has been wonderful to hear the positive feedback as people make use of them.”
Gordon Maclean, Strategic Partnership Manager for Macmillan Scotland, said:
“Macmillan welcomes the availability of these videos, which are seen as a crucial step in helping to alleviate some of the distress and anxieties for those affected by cancer and their family’s as they start cancer treatment.”
Dr Carol Macgregor, Lead Oncologist for NHS Highland, said:
“This helps take some of the mystery and fear of the unknown out of an already stressful time, as people approach their cancer treatment.”
To find out more about the ‘introduction to chemotherapy’ and ‘introduction to radiotherapy’ zoom groups, please contact Maggies Highland: Tel 01463 706306, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.