Coventry Roy Castle Lung Cancer Support Group
Category: Diagnosis and Initial Needs
It was identified that there was a lack of support available for patients with lung cancer. There was a belief that lung cancer support groups would not be viable as lung cancer patients were of poor performance status and their prognosis was also very poor.
Funding was obtained to attend a lung cancer conference and contacts were made with the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. The nurses were guided on how to set a support group up and help on advertising through the media. The nurses carried out a small survey amongst patients and there was enough interest to continue with plans to set up a group. Appropriate accommodation was found and a letter sent out to all known lung cancer patients that were currently attending the oncology clinic. The nurses also advertised in the local press, GP surgeries and on the local radio station. Posters with relevant information were also sent to local libraries and appropriate clinics.
The lung cancer nurses have been facilitating the support group since 1999 and we still welcome in excess of 15 patients and carers to each meeting. All patients are invited and encouraged to attend the group at varying stages of their cancer journey as each will need different support at different stages. The meetings often welcome other health care professionals such as physiotherapist, dietician, benefits centre and radiographers as well as oncologists and chest consultants to speak to the group. Setting up the support group is very rewarding and satisfying and we would encourage any CNS to take a group forward.
There are little resource/cost implications for the group itself. The main resource is nurses time. Currently, the group lasts 1.5 hours and the preparation time can vary but not usually more than 1 hour a month. Adequate accommodation needs to be identified with special consideration to comfort and privacy. The nurses time needed to facilitate the group is very little compared to the satisfaction of running it and knowing how much people benefit from it.