Holistic, person-centred care is vital for people living with cancer

Macmillan's Claire Taylor on why holistic and personalised cancer care are vital so people can exercise choice and control, and talk about needs and concerns

Macmillan Cancer Support chief nursing officer Claire Taylor
Macmillan Cancer Support chief nursing officer Claire Taylor

Four months ago, I began my role as chief nursing officer (CNO) at Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS). This is a joint leadership position, which I share with our chief medical officer Richard Simcock. Alongside this, I continue to work part time as a nurse consultant so that I can remain clinically informed and up-to-date with professional issues that affect our ability as nurses to provide high-quality care.

As CNO, my major priorities are professional engagement, recruitment and retention. The latter is a subject we will be discussing in a forthcoming webinar, called Cancer Care in the Next Decade: Driving Innovations and Re-energising the Workforce, that Cancer Nursing Practice is holding on Wednesday 30 November 2022 from 12-2pm. I hope you will be able to attend.

As a cancer nurse, I want to focus on what matters most to people living with cancer and delivering it through personalised care. Dany Bell, strategic adviser treatment at MCS, discusses this important topic in her CPD article Delivering personalised cancer care to enhance patients’ quality of life, outlining how it enables people to exercise choice and control over their care.

The importance of holistic needs assessments in personalised care

Holistic needs assessments (HNA) are important metrics in measuring personalised care, with the aim of ensuring that everyone diagnosed with cancer can talk about their needs and concerns. This represents nearly 1,000 people every day who we need to reach.

HNAs are also referenced by Anna Lagerdahl and colleagues in their evidence & practice article Nurses’ attitudes and beliefs around exploring the existential concerns of people with cancer.

Finally, I am excited to be chairing this month my first Macmillan Professionals Conference, where more than 500 professionals will come together from across the UK and inspire each other for the future.

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