How do you support young patients as clinical nurse specialists?
“As Clinical Nurse Specialists working within the regional Teenage & Young Adult (TYA) service in Northern Ireland, we provide support, advice and information to young people aged 16-24 years who have a cancer diagnosis, and who are treated in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. Many young people with cancer have increasingly complex disease trajectories and require continuing support as they live beyond cancer and we work as their key worker to provide this alongside the multi professional team. Along with the members of the regional Teenage & Young Adult Service we are also involved with service development.
What does your role involve?
“We care for young people using tailored holistic needs assessment, which addresses their medical and psychosocial needs. We take part in multidisciplinary clinics and ward rounds, providing key support to patients and their families, to ensure that they have continuity of care and that their treatment is fully explained, so they can make informed decisions. We are also on hand as a familiar face for patients and they can contact us with any queries in relation to treatment, emotional, social or physical needs.
How important is Friends of the Cancer Centre to your role and your patients?
“Friends of the Cancer Centre funds both of our posts within the TYA service. Over the past year, we have provided support to newly diagnosed, those in ongoing treatment and patients who require palliative care. As well as supporting the young person who has cancer, we also provide support to the families, friends, and peers of the young person.
“The charity has also supported our young patients who are spending time in hospital with birthday and Christmas gifts, additional televisions and games stations, and funding the creation of the new TYA Hub in the waiting area in the Bridgewater Suite. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supports the charity as these touches make what can be a really difficult time that little bit easier for our young patients.”