New Macmillan role to support patients every step of the way
Sometimes patients with cancer just need a helping hand to guide them through their treatment and that is exactly what the new role of Macmillan Urology Care Co-ordinator is doing for patients with urological cancers at Airedale Hospital.
Sue Rourke took up the new role in May this year and since then has helped many patients navigate their treatment after being sent to the hospital for tests and diagnosis by their GP for any suspected urological cancer which includes prostate, testicular, penile, bladder and kidney cancers. Sue is often that first point of contact for patients, giving them a direct number and a named person they can contact for any questions they might have throughout their treatment.
Sue has taken a 6 month specialist course with Macmillan cancer support which gave her training in loss and bereavement, communication, counselling and all the different cancers and what tests and procedures that patients have to undertake, so she would have that knowledge for the patients.
Sue also gives each patient a Macmillan organiser which gives information on their particular cancer and support available to them.
“Not all patients will read it straight away as they have been told a diagnosis in clinic and it’s hard for them because they have been told so much information but then eventually they might pick the pack up and look through it and see what is going on. It includes information on the support groups we have, where they can talk about their experiences and help each other and they become like a family to each other. There are booklets too regarding help with finances if they need it.”
Sue also supports patients by helping them with a holistic assessment of their needs, so that might be psychological support or advice on what travel or financial support is available. This helps identify if any patients don’t have family or friends to support.
As Sue explains:
“I’ve recently been supporting a patient who has bladder cancer because she’s on her own with no family close by. She’s understandably been very anxious about her tests and treatment and so I’ve met her and we’ve gone together for her CT scans, and I’ve gone with her to the ward before she went for her biopsy, so I have supported her from the start. She has had difficulties with transport, and going over to Leeds for the treatment when you are not sure what they are going to do, it’s difficult when you are on your own, so I have helped plan her travel. She has recently been in touch as she wanted to say thank you, she said it had been a massive help. I thought that was really lovely for someone to say but that’s what I’m here for.”