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Lung cancer diagnosis and home visits

By Jo Phelps, Michelle Palmer & Jolly Barber, Southend University Hospital

Category: Diagnosis and Initial Needs

The problem identified

Patients were attending busy dedicated lung cancer clinics and informed of their diagnosis by the chest physician. The patient then met with an oncologist to discuss treatment and then spent time with the nurse to clarify diagnosis and discuss ongoing support available etc. Each stage often incurred more waiting time.

The intervention made to change the problem

Macmillan have funded a 3 year post for a lung cancer nurse to make a one off home visit within a week of patients being told their lung cancer diagnosis. It is widely understood that following a cancer diagnosis patients are unable to retain a majority of the information discussed (Brennan 2005). A home visit within a few days has enabled clarification as well as giving patients time to reflect and generate their own questions in a more comfortable and private environment. Continuity of care is achieved as the nurse endeavours to be present when a diagnosis is given. Family members can choose to attend.

How it changed my practice

Patient and lung CNS expectations have changed. By offering this service patients benefit from a more personable, private and timely holistic assessment by the lung cancer nurse specialist. Improved relationships and communication have been established with patients. Improved record keeping within the team to ensure members are aware of outcomes of home visits.


Brennan J. (2005) Cancer in context:A practical guide to supportive care, Oxford, University Press New York


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