Specialist nurses at Kettering General Hospital are using skype and facetime as a way of communicating with concerned patients at home as part of a pioneering project.
The Macmillan Prostate Project is exploring ways to better support stable prostate cancer patients in environments where they are comfortable.
This could include skyping them at home or maybe visiting groups of people at work or in a leisure environment where groups of men regularly meet.
KGH’s Macmillan prostate cancer nurse specialist Janine Cullen said: “It is important that our patients feel relaxed and comfortable whilst communicating with us.
“New media like skype and facetime allow people to see and interact with us in a more personal way than a telephone call – and it is something many people are now increasingly familiar and comfortable with.
“The aim of the Macmillan Prostate Project is to make sure that all stable patients who fit certain criteria will have the opportunity for continued follow-up outside of the hospital environment.
“We are being quite innovative by exploring methods of communication like skype and facetime to see if they will be a popular way of us following up these patients.”
The Macmillan Prostate Project is running across Northamptonshire to ensure there is an equitable service for all stable prostate cancer patients.
This involves both Kettering General and Northampton General Hospital working closely together.
Other methods of communication being used within the project are home visits, follow-up outreach clinics in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and East Northants, and secure password protected emails.
Janine said: “So far we have only just started using new media like skype but the reaction from patients has been very enthusiastic and positive.
“People have said to us it is saving them time away from work, prevents missed hospital appointments, and can be booked at a convenient time in the comfort of their own home – or indeed anywhere they can use the internet.”
Patients who are eligible will sign consent forms to use the new media platforms to communicate with KGH nurse specialists.
Another aspect of the project has been nurse specialists going into the local community and talking directly with men in environments like pubs, social clubs and even banks.
Janine said: “This is another way of communicating with people about their recovery and raising awareness of prostate cancer with local families.”
If successful, the learning from the Northamptonshire Macmillan Prostate Project could spread nationwide and lead the way in follow-up support for other cancer services.
If you or a family member who has had prostate cancer and are looking for support contact Janine Cullen on 01536 493587.
Or if you would like to support the work that Macmillan does and raise awareness about Prostate cancer, visit www.macmillian.org.