Cancer patients need more support than those with other conditions, say RedArc Nurses

Based on over 9,000 patient records collected over the last five years, RedArc Nurses has identified that those individuals who are diagnosed with cancer usually need significantly more support and care than those with other conditions. The company believes that collectively everyone involved in supporting cancer patients and survivors needs to ensure that strategies are put in place to ensure a good quality of life and mental wellbeing during treatment and far beyond.

RedArc statistics show that on average:
• the company supports a cancer patient for 234 days, but the average duration for other conditions is 204 days, 15 per cent of extra time for cancer patients
• Similarly, 20 per cent of cancer support cases last for over 12 months, vs. 16 per cent for other conditions

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says:

“Even after an ‘all clear’, many patients still feel that cancer has control of their lives. That could be due to physical changes related to the disease, or because the burden of living with cancer creates new mental health problems such as anxiety, stress or depression.

“We know the NHS does a fantastic job in diagnosing and treating the disease – just last week, the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that 828* cases are diagnosed in England every day – but oncologist teams rightly focus on the primary illness and are often too pressured in terms of time and resources to provide very much additional support. In reality, often the secondary issues don’t actually rear their head until the individual has been discharged from their initial treatment.”

Importance of variety of support
For some, having a medically trained individual to provide emotional support throughout their cancer journey is hugely beneficial as they may feel unable or unwilling to discuss issues with close family and friends.

However, sometimes talking is not enough, and therefore RedArc also provides a number of additional third-party services that they organise for their patients when other more specific support is required. This increasingly includes things such as:
• Nutritional advice
• Reiki
• Osteopathy
• Acupuncture
• Psychotherapy
• Hydrotherapy
• Physiotherapy

Insurers need to assess provision
Both individuals and employers are now aware that cancer support is available via Private Medical Insurance, Group Risk or Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) but the choice is no longer a binary one – to have or not to have. As those in the market for a new policy become better informed, they will be more likely to investigate the specific breadth and depth of support available and use that to help inform their buying decisions.

Employers need to consider implications beyond the individual employee
With insurers providing varying levels of cancer support, employers should seek out a policy that not only helps their employee at an individual level, but also for their business, for instance some provide training for the organisation too. This can help the individual’s line manager, their team and the HR department be better equipped to deal with the illness of a colleague and facilitating a smooth return to work.

Christine Husbands concluded:

“World Cancer Day’s tagline for this year is ‘We can. I can.’ promoting the fact that all people have the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families, businesses and communities. It is a very apt day for everyone involved in supporting cancer patients to reflect on what else we could all be doing in the fight against the disease.”